EU Member States to intervene against Western Sahara in EU Court
A handful of EU Member States will intervene in the European Court proceedings in favour of Morocco, asking the Court to reverse its decision to cancel the EU-Morocco trade deal in occupied Western Sahara.
In December 2015, the General Court of the European Union issued a judgment annulling the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement covering agricultural and fisheries products in so far as it was applied in Western Sahara. In the judgment, the Court stated that Western Sahara “is not included in the recognised international frontiers of [Morocco] (point 232), “that the Kingdom of Morocco does not have any mandate granted by the UN or by another international body for the administration of [Western Sahara]” (point 233), and “that the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco over Western Sahara is not recognised by the European Union or its Member States, or more generally by the UN” (point 241).
Now it seems that a handful EU Member States will intervene in the appeal proceedings alongside the Council – and thus in favour of Morocco’s position – to convince the Court to retract its decision. The interventions will take place during a hearing, which is probably going to take place at one point this summer.
The EU-Morocco agriculture agreement - as the deal is often called - entered into force in October 2012. Due to the vague territorial specifications, the agreement did not only allow for increased volumes of fruits, vegetables and fish products from Morocco to enter the EU market - but also from the parts of Western Sahara that Morocco has been illegally occupying since 1975.
The UN is trying to negotiate peace in Western Sahara between Morocco and the people of Western Sahara, but Morocco has refused both of the UN Special envoy and the UN Secretary-General access to the territory.
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.
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.