His Majesty the King Mohamed VI, May God protect him, presided, on February 21st, 2011, at the Royal Palace of Casablanca, the Economic and Social Council’s (ESC) launch ceremony. On this occasion, the King reaffirmed his determination to give a new push to socioeconomic development. His Majesty appointed Chakib Benmoussa as President of the Council, and Driss Guerraoui, General Secretary.
The King asked this Council, created by virtue of the Constitution, to “give top priority to develop a new social charter, based on major contractual partnerships”. Besides making each and everybody involved in the “effort of achieving development, at a fast pace, with a view of reaching an equitable sharing of its benefits, within the framework of social equity and national solidarity”, these major contractual partnerships are suitable for “creating the right environment to meet the challenges of modernizing the economy, boosting its competitiveness and revitalizing the productive investments.”
The King said that he is expecting from the ESC members to propose “efficient solutions to the issue of human resources qualification.”
His Majesty the King emphasized that these human resources have to “be granted a professional and technical training that would enable them to have access to the job market and to fulfill the requirements of the country’s sectoral strategies and structuring projects”. “The ultimate goal is to ensure a descent life for all Moroccans, particularly the underprivileged, and to achieve a comprehensive development that can create productive jobs, especially for young people, who are placed at the heart of development policies”.
The King reaffirmed his unwavering will to “go ahead with the concretization of the Moroccan model, of which we reaffirm the irreversible aspect”. In this respect, His Majesty said that “we will be doing more than just preserving the gains (of this model); we would like, instead, to consolidate it with new reforms, within the framework of a profound symbiosis and a total synergy between Us ourselves and all the components of our loyal people.”
His Majesty the King said that he is eager to “continue the realization of the structuring reforms, following a roadmap endowed with a vision and clearly defined objectives and based on the very close symbiosis between the Throne and the People. Our ultimate goal is to ensure for all Moroccans the favorable conditions to exercise a descent citizenship, within the framework of an advanced Morocco, that enjoys full unity and sovereignty.”
Moreover, His Majesty the King stressed that the setting up of the ESC intends to give a strong impetus to the reforming dynamic, indicating that “if we are launching this Council today, it is because we have, constantly, refused to yield to demagogy and improvisation in our action to consolidate our distinctive model of democracy and development”. “We had to take the necessary time to make mature the process which has conveniently led to the setting up of this council.”
In this perspective, the King pointed out that “We are not, in any way, ready to allow this Council change into a third House. On the contrary, we would like it to be a new and broad-based space that strengthens what the State bodies offer in terms of structures and Institutions of constructive dialogue, responsible expression and positive reactivity with the aspirations of the various social categories and the different generations.
The Council’s President, Mr. Chakib Benmoussa, said that the objective of the Economic and Social Council is to generate operational recommendations that meet the population’s expectations, pointing out that its opinions have a moral authority and could be prescriptive. The Council, as indicated by many of its members, will play a key role in defining political, economic and social policies to meet the expectations of the different segments of the society.
While underlying that the council is meant to be a pillar of the participatory approach which is complementary to the other Institutions, Mr Benmoussa pointed out that the ESC’s prerogatives are consultative, but due to the approach which the Council will have to adopt, its opinions have a moral obligation and could prescriptive.
The president indicated that the views of the Council will be submitted to contradictory and multi-sided debates which will bring about proposals and opinions to be published in the official bulletin, specifying that the composition of the Council guarantees its independence, its representativeness, and its expertise and gives it the power of representing the different components.
With regard to the action program of the Council, Mr. Benmoussa clarified that it is a question of a self-referring program, while waiting for the structures to be set up.
He also indicated that the ESC working group relied on the orientations of his Majesty the King, the Council’s mission, the internal discussions as well as the context in which the Council was created, to formulate a priority actions program, approved by the General Assembly, and focused mainly on youth employment and inclusion, the Social Charter, and governance.
These axes are divided into six areas: youth employment, training and reconversion policies, policies of youth inclusion through culture, green economy, job creation and sectoral policies.
As for the link between the ESC and the Constitutional reform announced by His Majesty the King, in the March 9th speech, Mr. Benmoussa said that the Council is included in this reform process, and could be influenced in the dimension of its representativeness in terms of labor unions and professional chambers, which will have to leave the second House, which is more concerned by the reform, particularly within the new territorial and regional dimension.