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.
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.
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.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
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.