Legal action over disputed African territory affects EU links with Morocco
Financial Times / JOHN DIZARD. .- What the military calls asymmetric warfare — guerrillas fighting regular armies — has come to the compliance world.
Political movements with few financial assets, let alone military superiority, can win in court against corporate or government players.
Thanks to their ability to make use of their wins by influencing trillions of investors’ money, or sensitive sovereign wealth funds, they can generate a huge effect.
Take a case filed in the European Court of Justice on April 29 by the Polisario Front, a political group that demands full sovereignty for Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. Its lawyers claim Brussels is violating EU human rights law by allowing, even encouraging, the import of natural resources from the territory. Read more
The Frente POLISARIO entered with the registry of the Court of Justice of the European Union an action for annulment against the decision of 28th January 2019, whereby the European Union concluded an association agreement with Morocco, deciding that this agreement would apply also to the territory of Western Sahara.
In its judgment of 21st December 2016, the CJEU ruled that Morocco and Western Sahara were two distinct and separate territories, and that there could be economic activity on the territory only with the consent of the people of Western Sahara. These principles were confirmed by two judgments of 2018, concerning fishing and airspace.
The POLISARIO Front had immediately demonstrated to negotiate the agreements necessary for the development of the territory, in compliance with the decisions of the CJEU. European leaders have made another choice. As the Court said that there could be no “de facto application”, they imagined a “law enforcement” mechanism, inventing an explicit process of extending the EU agreement / MOROCCO on the territory of Western Sahara. This is a serious violation of the principle of sovereignty. Read more
PUSL .- Izquierda Unida has released a press statement today in which it characterizes the response of the European Commission (EC) as cynical. The response in question is related to on the question put forward by the MEP Paloma Lopez of this political party asking whether the EC condemns the Moroccan action when trying to legitimize the occupation of Western Sahara, with the appropriation of Dakhla as a Moroccan city, or its attitude towards the constant breach of the agreements of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on fisheries matters. These questions where put forward last October on the occasion of the participation of the company Atlas Pelagic, based in the Saharawi city of Dakhla, in the Fair of Frozen Products of Vigo (Conxemar).
Atlas Pelagic, a Moroccan company dedicated to plundering the natural resources of Western Sahara, which represents a violation of the judgments of the European Court of Justice, which has expressed in three rulings that Western Sahara is not a Territory subject to the sovereignty of Morocco. “It is intolerable to continue seeing cases of Moroccan companies that take advantage of the plundering of the natural resources of Western Sahara, becoming accomplices of an illegitimate military occupation by participating in the sacking of the Saharawi people,” said the national coordinator of the United Left, Eva Solla. Read more
PUSL – [BRUSSELS, JANUARY 23] The European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee approved today the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement which includes the maritime area of Western Sahara. The Commission in no way respects the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of February 2018, in which it is explicit that such an agreement could not be applied to Western Sahara. The agreement was approved with 17 votes in favor, 7 against and 2 abstentions.
Parliament’s Plenary (all MEPs) will have to make the final vote on 13 February.
Following the disastrous vote on the EU / Morocco trade agreement, which also violates the CJEU rulings, there seems to be no intention of European politicians to respect international law or it’s own court. Read more
lavanguardia.com.- The Polisario Front decided to denounce again before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJUE) the trade agreement between Morocco and the European Union approved last Wednesday by the European Parliament, to include Sahrawi territories.
In a statement released today by the official news agency SPS, the Polisario warned that the battle for the preservation of the Saharawi natural resources “will be a factor of decisive pressure on the Moroccan occupier.”
“The battle will be fought in the judicial and executive bodies of Europe, which does not recognize the supposed sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara, as stated in its latest decision on the illegal trade agreement between Morocco and the EU,” the Polisario stressed. Read more
LOPEZ BERMEJO Paloma
PUSL.- Statement on the vote regarding Schaake (A8-0471 / 2018) EU-Morocco Agreement on the amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement
I voted against this report because it fails to comply with the rulings of the CJEU regarding the recognition of Western Sahara as an independent territory of Morocco and the necessary consent of the Saharawi people on the use of their resources.
The abuse has been repeated. The Saharawi people are again victims of an illegal decision about their territory and resources. This agreement also violates the Council’s negotiating mandate to the Commission on respect for EU principles and Human Rights. Endorsing this agreement that violates International Law, the EU is delegitimized by interfering in the peace process and the resolution of the conflict in the terms established in the resolutions of the United Nations. Read more
Vote at the Strasbourg plenary session on the EU-Morocco agreement on the amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement
Ana Gomes (Socialist Party – Portugal)
I voted against this agreement. In consciousness. The right of self-determination of the people of Western Sahara is not negotiable in exchange for political-economic advantages. I support that Morocco benefits from a privileged partnership with the EU, but not at the expense of the rights of the Saharawi people.
The EU must respect International Law and the negotiation process within the framework of the United Nations. By approving this agreement, the European Union institutions violate the International Law and disrespect the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). The CJEU has explicitly stated that the consent of the people of the Sahara is necessary.
It is unacceptable to confuse the “people” with the “population”, which also includes Moroccan settlers. Morocco has no legitimacy to represent the Saharawi people and the EU cannot agree with Morocco on the interests of the Saharawi people. Read more
pcp.pt.– In 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union declared the association agreement between the European Union and Morocco illegal. This illegality has to do with the territories of Western Sahara that are illegally occupied by the Moroccan army and whose resources are included in the agreement.
By determination of the court the European Union was forced to revise this agreement. But the review by the European Union runs counter to the court’s determination and constitutes an affront to United Nations resolutions. The consultation allegedly carried out in the occupied territories was a simulacrum leaving out those who are, under the United Nations, the only legitimate representatives of the Saharawi people. Read more
PUSL.- Attached is the list of the votes on the Association Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco which took place this week.
PUSL found it necessary to publish the exhaustive list of Members by political group and country because of the serious consequences of this vote.
Regardless of personal or partisan opinion on the Western Sahara conflict, there was a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union which was very clear as to the illegality of the inclusion of the territory of Western Sahara without the consent of the Saharawi People in the now-voted EU-Morocco agreement.
In fact, it was not only a judgment but three (links below) which thus joined the resolutions of the United Nations, the African Union, the Hague Tribunal and several international tribunals. Read more
PUSL.- The European Parliament approved today an amendment to the trade liberalization agreement between the European Union and Morocco in order to extend to Western Sahara the preferential treatment accorded to Moroccan products in clear disregard for the judgment of December 2016 of the Court of Justice of the The European Union (CJEU), which upheld a complaint by the Polisario Front (legitimate representative of the Saharawi people) and considered that the agreement concluded with Morocco – which came into force in 2013 – did not provide a legal basis for the inclusion of Western Sahara since the territory is distinct and separate from Morocco and therefore could not apply to this territory except with the consent of the Saharawi people.
In the clear intention of disregarding the judgment, the EU Council then gave the European Commission a mandate to change the liberalization agreement by means of an unwarranted maneuver and a “free” interpretation, changing the meaning of the judgment. To that end, the term “saharawi people” is replaced by the term “local population”, which includes the Moroccan settlers introduced by the occupying state after the invasion of the non-self-governing territory in 1975. The aim was to establish the appearance of a legal base that would allow the saharawi products the treatment and benefits applied by the EU to Moroccan products. The plunder of the Saharawi resources by Morocco is so significant that it justifies and finances a massive military presence in the occupied territories and the maintenance of the world’s largest separation wall (2720km). Read more
aps.dz – Paris- The Polisario Front filed Tuesday afternoon a complaint before the public prosecutor of the Court of First Instance of Paris against the company “Chancerelle”, which exploits the brand of cannery “Connetable”, for “illegal” activity in the Sahrawi territory.
The Connetable cannery, located in France in Finistère, also sells sardines from Morocco which represents more than half of its activity . However, these sardines are actually fished “illegally” in Saharawi waters, said the representative of the Polisario Front in France, Bachir Oubbi Bouchraya, stating that the canned goods are shipped from the site of the company of Agadir in Morocco, “but all the fish comes from Saharawi waters “.
Last Wednesday, Chancerelle announced an investment of 4 million euros for the construction of a new sardine processing plant, in El-Aaiun, the capital of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco. Read more