EU Court Annuls Trade Agreements With Morocco Over Western Sahara

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The European Union Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday to revoke the European Council’s approval of agriculture and fishing agreements with Morocco which allowed it to export goods from the disputed Western Sahara region.

“The General Court annuls the Council decisions concerning, first, the agreement between the European Union and Morocco amending tariff preferences granted by the European Union to products of Moroccan origin and, second, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement,” the court said.

The court said the objections of the Front Polisario, which represents the partially-recognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Western Sahara, were justified in that by approving the agreement without the consent of Western Sahara’s people, the Council had violated both international and EU law. According to the plaintiff, the impugned agreements apply to Western Sahara and allow the exploitation of its natural resources and encourage the policy of annexation of the territory by Morocco.

The EU and Morocco took note of the court’s decision, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said in a joint statement.

“We will take the necessary measures to ensure the legal framework which guarantees the continuity and stability of trade relations between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco,” the joint statement read.

Morocco regards Western Sahara – a former colony of Spain — as its territory — while neighboring Algeria advocates its self-determination and supports the SADR.

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