EU Court protects Western Sahara from EU-Morocco trade deal
cjeu_building.jpg

The highest Court of the European Union this morning found that EU's trade agreement with Morocco cannot be implemented in Western Sahara.
Published: 21.12 - 2016 10:40Printer version    
The EU Court of Justice today made its final say on the issue of an EU-Morocco free trade agreement signed in 2012.

The news was broken on the website of the court at 10:30 this morning. The judgment itself is published here.

The decision is clear. The trade agreement cannot be implemented in Western Sahara, which falls outside of the international borders of Morocco. However, the court does not stop there. In its decision, the judgement goes even further, all the way back to the 2000 Association Agreement which frames the EU-Morocco relations. That agreement too, the court states, cannot be included in Western Sahara. The reasoning follows the line of arguments by the general-advocate of the court who in September 2016 came to the same conclusion. The court thus goes even further than the original judgment from 2015.

"It is not apparent that that people consented to the agreement being applied to Western Sahara", the court stated in a press release.

The road to the 21 December 2016 Judgment

March 2000: The EU-Morocco Association Agreement enters into force. A free trade area liberalizing two-way trade in goods was created.

October 2005: The Council gives the EU Commission the mandate to negotiate further trade liberalisation for agriculture and fishery products.

October 2012: The FTA is expanded to include reciprocal liberalisation measures on agricultural products, processed agricultural products, fish and fishery products.

November 2012: the liberation movement of Western Sahara, Frente Polisario, brings action against the Council of the European Union, calling for the annulment of the 2012 extension of the FTA.

December 2015: The General Court rules the partial annulment of the Free Trade Arrangement insofar as it covers Western Sahara.

February 2016: the Council appeals the General Court’s decision.

September 2016: The EU Court’s Advocate General concludes in his Opinion that “neither the EU-Morocco Association Agreement nor the EU-Morocco Agreement on the liberalization of trade in agricultural and fishery products apply to Western Sahara”.

21 December 2016: The Court of Justice of the EU, in general, confirms in its final appeal the argumentation of the Advocate General and annuls the initial judgement from December 2015. The reason for annulment is that Western Sahara has no part in the application of the 2000 and 2012 agreements.
"This is a wonderful victory for the Saharawi people and for those who advocate for respect of international law in Western Sahara. All those states in the EU which over so many years have advocated for the respect of international law in the territory are now proven right. The EU now has to respect the law in its relations with Morocco, and not put obstacles to the UN peace process in Western Sahara as is the wish of Morocco's main ally, France", stated Erik Hagen of Western Sahara Resource Watch.

The decision came after EU had appealed a judgement by The General Court of the EU Court of Justice on 10 December 2015. See full timeline in the box.

Even though all states joined the original appeal in January 2016, there was a division within the EU on the applicability of the agreement on Western Sahara goods. Sweden and Netherlands had been most outspoken, stating that no Western Sahara produce can be introduced to the EU as Moroccan.

In June 2012, WSRW documented how produce from agro-industry in occupied Western Sahara ends up in the baskets of unaware EU customers. The products are made on plantations owned by the Moroccan King or French-Moroccan conglomerates. WSRW's research also demonstrates that the agro-industry in the territory particularly boomed after 2005 - the year the Council mandated the Commission to negotiate further liberalisation for agriculture and fishery products with Morocco.

Polisario has one other pending case before the EU's General Court, calling for the cancellation of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement in the Western Sahara territory. The Court is expected to start proceedings in the coming months.


    

Top
News:

23.01 - 2017 / 23.01 - 2017Why the Key Bay imports are not in accordance with EU law
22.01 - 2017 / 22.01 - 2017Key Bay just outside of port of Fécamp
18.01 - 2017 / 18.01 - 2017Key Bay to arrive in France while complaints to be filed
14.01 - 2017 / 14.01 - 2017Key Bay appears at Las Palmas horizon
14.01 - 2017 / 13.01 - 2017Key Bay is now heading to Las Palmas
07.01 - 2017 / 07.01 - 2017Fresh images: Key Bay inside the port
06.01 - 2017 / 06.01 - 2017Here is the vessel that will transport fish oil to the EU
06.01 - 2017 / 06.01 - 2017First ship to challenge EU Court ruling on occupied Western Sahara
04.01 - 2017 / 04.01 - 2017Chinese Geron Energy might take over block in occupied Western Sahara
25.12 - 2016 / 25.12 - 2016Kosmos Energy asked by OECD contact point to quote correctly
23.12 - 2016 / 23.12 - 2016WSRW concerned: Vigeo Eiris greenwashes dirty energy on occupied land
22.12 - 2016 / 22.12 - 2016Reaction from Polisario on EU-Morocco court case
21.12 - 2016 / 21.12 - 2016Saharawi refugees celebrate victory in EU court
21.12 - 2016 / 18.12 - 2016EU Court protects Western Sahara from EU-Morocco trade deal
30.11 - 2016 / 30.11 - 2016Police refused these Saharawis access to "green" energy brief
28.11 - 2016 / 28.11 - 2016Western Sahara occupation soon to electrify EU?
24.11 - 2016 / 24.11 - 2016Beaten for protesting these importers of controversial phosphate
23.11 - 2016 / 21.11 - 2016EU funding to fish sector in occupied Western Sahara increases
18.11 - 2016 / 18.11 - 2016Euro-Parliamentarians oppose occupation energy imports
18.11 - 2016 / 20.07 - 2016First season in Switzerland without occupation tomatoes?




EN ES FR DE AR

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.
Report: COP22 controversy - Moroccan green energy used for plunder

tn_poweringplunder_eng_610.jpg

At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch

tn_sjovik_demo_610.jpg

Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
The Western Sahara oil curse

tn_san_leon_protest_camps_8_august_2015_610x200.jpg

Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!

tn_court_photo_gdeim_izik_610.jpg

On 17 February 2013, in a mockery of justice, a Moroccan military court condemned 25 Saharawi citizens to shockingly tough prison sentences. Help us to release the Gdeim Izik 25.

WSRW.org News Archive 2016
WSRW.org News Archive 2015
WSRW.org News Archive 2014
WSRW.org News Archive 2013
WSRW.org News Archive 2012
WSRW.org News Archive 2011
WSRW.org News Archive 2010
WSRW.org News Archive 2009
WSRW.org News Archive 2008
WSRW.org News Archive 2007
WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006


Register for our English newsletter:









These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy