TIL that in 1987, Morocco applied to join the European Communities (the precursor to the European Union). The application was rejected on the grounds that Morocco was not considered to be a “European country” and hence could not join.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morocco%E2%80%93European_Union_relations#Membership_application

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  1. In fairness to the whole “European country” thing, at the time Morocco was a monarchy, and not a constitutional monarchy like in the U.K. or Sweden etc. It was only in 2011 that king Mohammed VI introduced reforms to push it towards being a constitutional monarchy, following the Arab Spring. The EU is pretty heavily pro democracy and I could see someone saying a defining characteristic of being a “European country”, particularly in relation to joining the EU (or its precursor) is a democratic ethos.

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