Can the EU answer these questions on Western Sahara trade talks?
key_bay_06.01.2017j_610.jpg

Today, the EU Commission will answer questions from EU Parliamentarians about its plans to negotiate a trade arrangement for Western Sahara, with Morocco - the country that occupies the territory. Such an agreement is not legal, according to European top court. The Commission’s trade plans are kept away from public scrutiny.
Published: 30.05 - 2017 11:05Printer version    
Above: The tank vessel Key Bay seen in the harbor of El Aaiun on 6 January 2017 - the first confirmed transport of goods from Western Sahara into the EU after the landmark judgment of the CJEU.

On 21 December 2016, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) judged that EU-Morocco trade deals cannot include the territory of Western Sahara.

Yet, the EU Commission has been pushing hard the EU member states to ignore that judgement. And in spite of vocal opposition from the UN-recognised representative of the people of Western Sahara - the Polisario Front -  this morning, EU member states gave their green light to the Commission to start talks with Morocco for Western Sahara trade.

Today, a meeting will take place between the EU parliamentarians (MEPs) from the Trade committee and the Commission, behind closed doors.

WSRW recommends MEPs to file the questions included below.

1. As regards the current situation, what is the amount of trade coming from Western Sahara on an annual basis? Can you reassure us that all products coming from Western Sahara, since the CJEU ruling are entering our country under the ISO code EH (i.e. not MA, as Moroccan products) and are not benefiting from the EU-Morocco preferential tariff (when applicable, for example to food products)?

2. The CJEU ruling requires the consent of the “people” from Western Sahara for economic activities related to this territory. How are you planning to get this consent? Can you confirm that your proposal refers to the "people" of Western Sahara and not to the "population"?

3. The CJEU ruling states that the POLISARIO Front is the legitimate representative of the WS people (para 35 and 105) and that Western Sahara is "distinct and separate" from that of Morocco. Why are you proposing to negotiate with Morocco, in relation to a territory that is outside the latter’s internationally recognised borders? Do you intend to ask for a mandate to enter into direct negotiations with the POLISARIO Front in order to get the required consent?

4.     During the proceedings in front of the CJEU, the Commission stated that “the application of the Association and Liberalisation Agreements to Western Sahara could be interpreted as an infringement of its people’s right to self-determination and thus affect the legal situation of that territory, as it gives a degree of legitimacy to the Kingdom of Morocco’s claim to sovereignty” (Opinion C-104/16 P, paragraph 82). How does the Commission justify its change in position?

5. The EU-Morocco Association Agreement states that the certificates required to establish the place of origin (EUR.1 movement certificate) shall be issued by the customs authorities of the exporting country. Which customs authority will be responsible for products coming from Western Sahara? How can Morocco, acting in its sovereign capacity, deliver certificates of origin in relation to products originating in a territory that according to the UN and the CJEU are located outside of its international borders?

6. What are the safeguards that you can provide us with in order to ensure that the negotiations are in full conformity with the CJEU ruling, notably concerning the consent, in order to avoid costly and lengthy legal proceedings that the POLISARIO Front might launch against the outcome of the negotiations?

    
News:

19.07 - 2017 / 18.07 - 2017Civilian court follows military court against Saharawi activists
13.07 - 2017 / 13.07 - 2017Western Sahara has won its conflict cargo case in South Africa
10.07 - 2017 / 10.07 - 2017Siemens inconsistently supporting occupations
05.07 - 2017 / 05.07 - 2017Sign up! Stop EU trade talks with Morocco regarding Western Sahara!
02.07 - 2017 / 01.07 - 2017New Chinese interest in oil search in occupied Western Sahara?
01.07 - 2017 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
30.06 - 2017 / 30.06 - 2017Here is Dura Bulk unloading Western Sahara sand in Tenerife
30.06 - 2017 / 29.06 - 2017Western Sahara solar plants expected to be operational in 2018
21.06 - 2017 / 21.06 - 2017Polisario warns shipping industry of more vessel detentions
20.06 - 2017 / 20.06 - 2017Isle of Man shipping company exits Western Sahara until settlement
16.06 - 2017 / 16.06 - 2017New report reveals the companies transporting conflict phosphate rock
15.06 - 2017 / 15.06 - 2017Saharawis won first round in conflict mineral cargo court case
12.06 - 2017 / 12.06 - 2017Wisby Tankers continues fueling occupation of Western Sahara
12.06 - 2017 / 12.06 - 2017Swedish bank excludes phosphates industry in Western Sahara
06.06 - 2017 / 19.05 - 201715 questions that Atlas Copco does not want to answer
02.06 - 2017 / 02.06 - 2017Moroccan government confirmed Glencore exit from Foum Ognit
01.06 - 2017 / 01.06 - 2017Ballance takes in new controversial cargo to replace detained vessel
30.05 - 2017 / 30.05 - 2017UN Global Compact drops Vigeo Eiris case after own goal
30.05 - 2017 / 30.05 - 2017Protests in Palma de Mallorca against sand imports
30.05 - 2017 / 29.05 - 2017Can the EU answer these questions on Western Sahara trade talks?




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.
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.
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.
Report: 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.
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.

WSRW.org News Archive 2017
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