In the current financial year we propose to provide aid through our bilateral programme to Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Those countries also receive substantial multilateral aid, in particular through the European Community.
Morocco receives significant European Community aid and in the past four years EC aid to Morocco has increased by 35 per cent. The hon. Gentleman takes a particular interest in North Africa and Morocco and I think that he knows that we are also keen to help Morocco by promoting trade and allowing it greater access to European Union markets. A mandate for a partnership agreement with Morocco was agreed by the European Community in December 1993. That agreement aims to create a free trade zone with Europe progressively over the next 12 years. I am sure that the whole House wants to see maximum stability in North Africa and to prevent any other countries in that region from sliding into civil war.
May I encourage my hon. Friend seriously to examine aid to north Africa with our European Union partners? I am convinced that it is in Britain's interest that we should seek to minimise economic migration and the flow of people in north Africa and between north Africa and Europe. One good way of doing that is by investment in jobs, homes and economic prosperity in North Africa to minimise the differences.
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. We want to promote economic stability and economic growth in north Africa. We can do that through the bilateral aid budget and by ensuring that there is greater access for trade from north Africa into the European Union.