The European Parliament today backed the Aviation Agreement with Morocco, in spite of the EU Commission's confirmation prior to the vote that the deal indeed covers the territory of occupied Western Sahara. The Commission declared that the deal mirrors the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement in its territorial application.
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"The Aviation Agreement fails to comply with the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of 21 December 2016 POLISARIO vs Council, which required the EU to consider Western Sahara and Morocco as two distinct and separate territories. Moreover, the Commission did not demonstrate that it had secured the consent of the people of Western Sahara to this Agreement, as also required by the CJEU", Taylor stated. "We call on the Council to take urgent corrective action to conform with European law and to respect the territorial integrity of Western Sahara."
Morocco was the first country outside Europe to sign the Aviation Agreement. The aviation deal with Morocco has been provisionally in force since December 2006. In February 2014, the EU Commission proposed an amended version of the deal, accounting for changes within the EU (three new Member States since 2006, and the Lisbon Treaty). It is this amended version which has now been approved by Parliament.
MEPS who voted in favour of the EU Morocco Aviation Agreement
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 peoples social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
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