"The EU must warn European companies such as Siemens or Enel of the heavy legal and moral risks of doing business with an illegal occupier", 19 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) stated in an op-ed published in the EU Observer today.
The group, consisting of MEPs from several political groups, stressed that "it is high time that the EU shifts from a rogue player to a role model and musters all its collective strength and creativity in order to guarantee a just and sustainable solution to the conflict through the holding of the long-promised referendum of self-determination."
The collective specially noted that "EU cooperation assistance to Morocco must cease supporting the entrenchment of an illegal occupation and fund housing and jobs for Moroccan settlers (a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court). Goods produced in the Saharawi Occupied Territories should stop entering the European market as certified by and produced in Morocco, against the Saharawi people's consent."
The signatories to the op-ed are: Margrete Aken, Leila Chaibi, Giorgos Georgiou, Klemen Groselj, Francisco Guerreiro, José Gusmão, Jytte Guteland, Evin Incir, Marisa Matias, María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, Manu Pineda, Sira Rego, Andreas Schieder, Joachim Schuster, Tineke Strik, Migual Urbán, Ernest Urtasun, Idoia Villanueva, and Nikolaj Villumsen.
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 five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.