CJEU starts to hear the action brought by the Polisario Front against the EU Council

Luxembourg, 2 March 2021 (SPS) – The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) today opened a hearing on appeals brought by the POLISARIO Front against the Council Decision (EU) 2019/2017 of 28 January 2019 , including the occupied areas of Western Sahara under the EU-Morocco Association Agreement and the European Union-Morocco Fisheries Agreement, as well as against the regulation that distributes the fishing opportunities among the Member States set out in the Fisheries Agreement. Both processes were initiated in June 2019.

Today, starting at 9:30 am, the Chamber began its work by listening to the parties involved, and the session was opened by the defense of the Polisario Front, representative of the Saharawi people, led by Gill Devers. The defense of the Council of the European Union will present its arguments before the room.

The Republic of France, the European Commission and the Moroccan Confederation of Agriculture and Rural Development (COMADER) are also parties to the illegal agreements. Its legal services support the defense of the Council of the European Union.

The Polisario Front considers that the EU’s decision to include, without the consent of the Saharawi people, the areas that Morocco has been illegally occupying since 1975, is detrimental to the interests of the people of Western Sahara and contrary to international law. Saharawi demands, in short, are based on the following sections:

1. Incompetence of the EU and Morocco in concluding agreements that affect a non-autonomous territory pending decolonization.
2. The decision was adopted in violation of the different and separate status of Saharawi territory in relation to Morocco.
3. The EU has failed to fulfill its duty to examine the human rights situation of the Saharawi people during the Moroccan military occupation.
4. Violation of the right of the Polisario Front, as a legitimate Saharawi representative, to negotiate and decide on its natural resources.
5. With the contested decision, the EU promotes a policy of Moroccan military occupation.
6. Violation of the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination.
7. Record of the Saharawi People’s consent when signing the Agreement.
8. The decision extends Moroccan control over the territory, including Saharawi airspace.
9. Violation of Chapter XI of the Charter of the United Nations by promoting illegal occupation by force in a non-autonomous territory.
10. Violation by the EU of the obligation to ensure respect for international humanitarian law and human rights in its foreign policy.

At the hearing, scheduled for today and tomorrow, the Polisario Front will present to the General Court the seriousness of the Council’s decision to extend the application of illegal agreements to Saharawi areas illegally occupied by the Kingdom of Morocco, as well as the precarious human rights situation of the Saharawi populatio under occupation. The EU Decision leads to the perpetuation of an occupation situation, denounced by the UN for more than 50 years.