EU-Morocco DCFTA talks likely to start end of February
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The Moroccan government and the European Commission are expected to commence negotiations for the highly problematic Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) on 25 February 2013.
Published: 29.01 - 2013 17:02Printer version    
The EU Member States have given the European Commission green light to begin the process of negotiations, after having seen the results of the Commission’s “scoping exercise - a consultation of stakeholders likely to be affected by the envisioned Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

But one major stakeholder has yet again been overlooked: the Saharawi people. If past experience is anything to go by, the EU is not likely to differentiate between the territories of Morocco and of occupied Western Sahara.

On 26 June 2012, 31 Saharawi NGOs from the occupied territories and the refugee camps in southwest Algeria, wrote a letter to the European Commission requesting occupied Western Sahara be excluded from the scope of the DCFTA, so as to be in line with international law.

Though the Commission referred to the importance of meeting with local civil society groups in its partner country, no effort was made to meet the Saharawi groups and discuss their concerns.

Pending the Moroccan government’s acceptance of the results of the European Commission’s scoping exercise, official negotiations will kick off on 25-26 February 2013 in Morocco.

The DCFTA will allow for Morocco’s progressive economic integration into the EU single market, offering the country more opportunities to export its goods to the EU and to attract European investments. In return, the EU countries will be granted better access to the Moroccan market.


    
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Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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