EU intends to ignore Court of Justice judgment on Western Sahara trade
frederica_mogherini_mezouar.jpg

The EU Commission is now seeking the EU member states approval to brush aside the judgement of the Court of Justice of the EU, by negotiating a new agreement with Morocco for trade with occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 11.05 - 2017 17:18Printer version    
Photo above: Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salahedine Mezouar.

Does the EU have to abide by EU law? That is in essence the question, as the European Commission is now requesting EU Member States for a mandate to re-negotiate a controversial trade deal with Morocco, so as to include goods from the occupied territory of Western Sahara. In the past, Western Sahara products have implicitly been included in that trade, but this was found to be unlawful in a ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) on 21 December 2016.

Now, the Commission wants to try again.

Today, 10 May, the Danish Parliament's EU Affairs Committee and the Danish Government discussed the EU Commission's request. No arguments were presented by the government as to why Morocco and the EU have the right to negotiate the conditions of trade with Western Sahara, which the CJEU had found to be a territory that is 'distinct and separate' from Morocco. Neither were any arguments given as to what Morocco potentially can contribute in relation to seeking the consent of the people of the territory that it illegally occupies.

As the Danish debate with the Minister for International Development heated up, it was decided to defer to a later date to allow for an exchange of views with the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Similar hearings are now taking place across Europe and the Member States will soon vote on the mandate for the negotiations.

According to sources close to the Commission, the mandate that it wishes to obtain intends to assimilate Western Sahara products to those from Morocco by bypassing the Saharawi people's right to consent, and instead opt for a green light from Moroccan institutions.

It is not clear how the Commission would find any legal basis to do so. In hearings in the Court of Justice last year, the Commission had specifically stated to the Court that it was never the intention to include Western Sahara in the EU-Moroccan trade, that this was done unilaterally by Morocco, and that it would be illegal to de jure include Western Sahara, due to matters of international law.

Now, the Commission makes a u-turn in its approach vis-à-vis the Member States. Either the Commission has changed its opinion on international law since it pronounced itself in Court, or the lawyers of the Commission lied in Court. The act of knowingly including Western Sahara in the scope of the deal with Morocco is at least diametrically the opposite of what was stated in Court.

On 21 December 2016, the EU's Supreme Court ruled that no trade or association agreement with Morocco could be applied to the territory of Western Sahara, since Western Sahara is not part of Morocco. Accordingly, the Court stated in § 106, the people of Western Sahara ought to be viewed as a third party to the EU's relations with Morocco. And for any such bilateral arrangement to affect the third territory of Western Sahara, the express consent of the people of the territory should be obtained.

The Swedish government stated that the court judgement was in line with their historic position.

In the talks about a new mandate, it is rumoured that the Commission would have altogether eliminated any reference to the people of the territory - which is the core of the judgement - and instead refers to 'population'.

"We have serious reasons to fear that the Commission’s plan is plainly to circumvent the ruling of the EU Court of Justice. But, there is no way out of that ruling: the “people” of Western Sahara need to give their consent, not the “local population” mainly composed of Moroccan settlers", stated Margrete Auken, Danish Member of the European Parliament (Greens/EFA).  

"We cannot take the risk to see the EU once again violate the rights of the Sahrawi people, damage our collective credibility as a law-abiding regional block and put our European businesses in limbo. We are keen to hear the Danish government give us the details on the Commission’s proposal and the Danish position in the Council", Auken said.





    

Top
News:

09.08 - 2018 / 31.07 - 2018Bitcoins behind giant wind farm controversy in occupied Western Sahara
27.07 - 2018 / 25.07 - 2018Morocco grants only 5% of fishing licences off Dakhla to Saharawis
26.07 - 2018 / 23.07 - 2018EU Court confirms: Western Sahara not part of EU-Morocco fish deal
25.07 - 2018 / 07.07 - 2018Large Russian-Chinese-British oil study in Western Sahara
23.07 - 2018 / 20.07 - 2018EU and Morocco today initial new fish deal including Western Sahara
23.07 - 2018 / 22.07 - 2018Key player quits dirty Western Sahara phosphate game
22.07 - 2018 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
19.07 - 2018 / 19.07 - 2018Fishmeal from occupied Western Sahara now being unloaded in Germany
17.07 - 2018 / 17.07 - 2018Caught fishing illegally in occupied Western Sahara
16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018Polisario condemns Council's approval of Western Sahara trade deal
16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018EU Council approves Morocco trade deal to include Western Sahara
16.07 - 2018 / 16.07 - 2018EU vessels return home in absense of new EU-Morocco fish deal
06.07 - 2018 / 06.07 - 2018EU Parliament backs self-determination - split on EU Court ruling
05.07 - 2018 / 05.07 - 2018Berlin sceptical - misguided by EU Commission
03.07 - 2018 / 03.07 - 2018Saharawi groups object to EU's Western Sahara trade plans
03.07 - 2018 / 02.07 - 2018This is how the European Commission will violate the CJEU ruling
29.06 - 2018 / 29.06 - 2018Morocco now demands twice the money for EU fishing in Western Sahara
23.06 - 2018 / 23.06 - 2018Maersk drops transports of conflict rock from occupied Western Sahara
21.06 - 2018 / 21.06 - 2018EU Parliament critical of Commission’s Western Sahara approach
18.06 - 2018 / 16.06 - 2018Polisario initiates new law suit against EU-Morocco fish deal




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.
EU Court cases on Western Sahara for dummies

tn_law_hammer.jpg

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 five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!

tn_court_photo_gdeim_izik_610.jpg

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.
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.

WSRW.org News Archive 2018
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