Misleading and false INTA report as basis for Parliamentary vote

As the European Parliament prepares to vote on the extension of the EU-Morocco trade deal into occupied Western Sahara, WSRW calls on newly appointed Rapporteur Marietje Schaake to save her and the Parliament s reputation by suspending the procedure and starting over from scratch.
Published: 07.01 - 2019 16:07Printer version    
In two weeks, the European Parliament will vote on the proposed amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 to the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, extending trade preferences into the part of Western Sahara that is under Morocco's military control.

The report of the Parliament's International Trade Committee (INTA) that serves as a basis for the vote contains highly misleading and false claims. Find that report, with Western Sahara Resource Watch's remarks included, here.

The report, which calls on Parliament to support the proposed trade extension, was drafted by French liberal Patricia Lalonde, Parliament's appointed Rapporteur on the file until she resigned in early December 2018, following revelations about her membership on the Board of a pro-Morocco lobby group. Replacing her is Dutch liberal Marietje Schaake, who has so far not made any public comments on the proposal or on the report drafted by her predecessor MEP Lalonde.

"It is incredible that a report drafted by an MEP with a pro-Morocco agenda is still being used for Parliament's voting procedure. There is every reason to doubt the veracity of the claims made in the report, which contains misleading and factually incorrect elements. As such, we call on newly appointed Rapporteur Marietje Schaake to suspend the procedure so that she can make her own assessment of the proposal and draw her own conclusions as to whether Parliament should or should not endorse it", says Sara Eyckmans from Western Sahara Resource Watch.

Among other things, the report claims that Parliament went to "assess the situation at first hand and gain an understanding of the different views of the people".

In reality, three delegates of the Trade Committee (not Parliament as a whole), from political groups representing only 20% of the Parliament's composition, traveled to Western Sahara but were not allowed to properly assess the situation on the ground. It only went to the occupied part of Western Sahara and did not visit the third of the territory under Polisario control and the refugee camps where close to half of the Saharawi people live. Nearly 80% of the INTA visit programme was spent on meeting Moroccan interlocutors or with actors that have a direct (economic or political) interest in having the proposed Protocol approved. The conclusions of the “fact-finding INTA mission” were under the exclusive responsibility of the former Rapporteur Lalonde. Participating MEP Hautala distanced herself from these conclusions.

MEP Lalonde subsequently resigned from her rapporteurship after serious allegations of conflict of interest. This would warrant the deletion of any reference to the INTA fact-finding mission in this report.

The report is also misleading in stating that the lack of information on the origin of products exported by Morocco prevents the EU customs authorities from complying with the CJEU ruling. The Commission has an obligation to ensure compliance and to take immediate and effective action in case of doubt. On the other hand, Morocco has a legal obligation to ensure that goods with a certificate of origin of Morocco effectively originate in Morocco as internationally defined (ie excluding Western Sahara).

The explicit inclusion of Western Sahara in the EU-Morocco trade arrangement came on the back of a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union of December 2016, concluding that no EU-Morocco Trade or Association Agreement could be applied to Western Sahara, since Morocco has no sovereignty over or any international mandate to administer the territory. The only lawful way for such an agreement to affect Western Sahara, the Court ruled, is with the consent of the people of the territory. The Court clarified that any potential benefits of the deal to the territory are irrelevant - what matters is that the people have consented or not.

In response to the ruling, the EU Commission negotiated and initiated an amendment to the deal with Morocco - not with the people of Western Sahara, who have not had any say in the entire process. Instead of seeking their consent, the EU Commission undertook a consultation process of 18 Moroccan economic operators and government representatives - while dishonestly claiming that 94 Saharawi groups, international NGOs (like ours) and the Polisario had taken part. In spite of the shaky legal basis of the proposal - but more concerned over appeasing anti-migration and anti-terror partner Morocco - the EU Member States have endorsed the proposal.

Since you're here....
WSRW’s work is being read and used more than ever. But our financial situation is tough. Our work takes time, dedication and diligence. But we do it because we believe it matters – and we hope you do to. If everyone who reads our website or likes us on Facebook, would contribute to our work – 3€, 5€, 27€ … what you can spare – the future of WSRW would be much more secure. You can donate to WSRW in less than a minute here.



03.07 - 2020 / 02.07 - 2020Swiss supermarkets ban produce from occupied Western Sahara
03.07 - 2020 / 11.06 - 2020HeidelbergCement cites local benefits, ignores consent
02.07 - 2020 / 21.06 - 2020Fishmeal: German government data confirms import controversy
26.06 - 2020 / 21.06 - 2020Turkey: biggest funder of occupation of Western Sahara
25.06 - 2020 / 05.05 - 2020These are the vessels that provide fuel for the occupation
23.06 - 2020 / 22.06 - 2020Protesters set up roadblock to stop conflict minerals in New Zealand
13.06 - 2020 / 13.06 - 2020WSRW urges shareholders to challenge Continental
06.06 - 2020 / 06.06 - 2020Norwegian gas transport avoids Western Sahara at last minute
28.05 - 2020 / 28.05 - 2020World Bank removed erroneous maps
27.05 - 2020 / 27.04 - 2020Russia-Morocco controversial fisheries deal on the horizon
26.05 - 2020 / 26.05 - 2020Austrian chemical giant says no to Western Sahara trade
13.05 - 2020 / 11.05 - 2020Germany thumbs down OCP credit in Western Sahara  
11.05 - 2020 / 09.05 - 2020HeidelbergCement expands in occupied Western Sahara
10.05 - 2020 / 08.05 - 2020Equinor will no longer export gas to occupied Western Sahara
09.05 - 2020 / 08.05 - 2020Kiwi importers ignore government advice on Western Sahara
08.05 - 2020 / 04.05 - 2020Research service of Bundestag analyses Morocco's settlement policy  
07.05 - 2020 / 27.12 - 2018Caterpillar trucks carry conflict minerals
04.05 - 2020 / 24.04 - 2020First overview of gas imports into occupied Western Sahara
18.04 - 2020 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
08.04 - 2020 / 12.07 - 2019Portugal energy consultants fail in geography


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


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.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch


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

WSRW.org News Archive 2020
WSRW.org News Archive 2019
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