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
fr.allafrica.com.- Brussels – Sweden opposed the conclusion of the new fisheries partnership agreement between the European Union and Morocco, reiterating that the extension of the geographical scope of the agreement to the territory of Western Sahara must receive the consent of the Saharawi people in accordance with the judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) of 27 February, while Germany, Denmark and Ireland insisted that an agreement must be in accordance with European law and international law.
When the text of the agreement on the EU’s Competitiveness Council was adopted on 29 November in Brussels, Sweden issued an explanatory declaration following the vote in which it expressed its opposition to the Council decisions on the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Morocco.
Sweden explained that this agreement did not respect the judgments of the CJEU which stated that Western Sahara was a “separate” and “distinct” territory from the Kingdom of Morocco and that any extension of agreement to that territory requires “consent “of the people of Western Sahara. 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
PUSL interviewed the Vice-President of CODAPSO, Mr Hmad Hmad, on the recent visit on 4 September of the European Union delegation to the occupied territories of Western Sahara. The purpose of the visit was to “consult” the population on whether or not it benefited from the EU / Morocco agreements for the exploitation and marketing of natural products and natural resources of this non-autonomous territory occupied militarily since 1975 by Morocco. We recall that the Court of Justice of the European Union in two judgments found that Western Sahara is a separate and distinct territory from Morocco and can not be included in the agreements. A legal victory for the Polisario Front, the legitimate representative of the Saharawi people with international organizations and the UN.
PUSL: What was the purpose of the visit of this EU delegation to the occupied territories?
Hmad: This delegation from the European Union said it wanted to “consult” the Saharawi population on whether or not we had any benefit from the exploitation by Morocco and foreign companies of the vast natural resources of this non-autonomous territory.
A rhetorical question, since the EU is aware that the Saharawi population does not enjoy anything. We denounce daily the various violations of human rights, apartheid in which we live politically, socially and economically, and we must not forget that the Saharawi population is not only in the occupied territories, our families are also in the refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, on the other side of the military separation Wall erected by Morocco, they not only do not enjoy anything as have have been dependent on humanitarian aid since 1975. Read more
PUSL.- This week, Fréderica Morgherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security in her speech on the subject of fisheries and other EU agreements with the Kingdom of Morocco was very clear and reaffirmed that the ECJ judgments (Court of Justice of the European Union) have to be respected. Addressing MEP’s, heads of state and government around her, referring to the EU / Morocco fisheries agreements and the non-inclusion of Western Sahara.
“Circumvent” she said, “the judgments of the Luxembourg Court of Justice is difficult and difficult to accept.” She continued: “It is our duty to make it clear to Morocco that we can not include Western Sahara in agreements with it.”
Morgherini warned that non-compliance with the ECJ’s decisions concerning the non-autonomous territory of Western Sahara by member states would result in heavy fines. Read more
PUSL.- The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has confirmed in it’s latest ruling published on 19th of July that Morocco has no sovereignty over Western Sahara and therefore the EU’s fisheries agreement with Morocco cannot be applied to the territory.
“it follows from the foregoing considerations that the Partnership Agreement and the 2013 Protocol must be interpreted in accordance with the rules of international law binding on the Union and applicable in the relations between the Union and the Kingdom of Morocco. In this sense, the territory of Western Sahara, and the waters adjacent to the territory, do not fall within the respective territorial scope of this Agreement and Protocol”.
This judgement referes to the case brought by the Frente Polisario against the EU Council over the application of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement to Western Sahara in 2014 and confirms the two previous rulings of 21st December 2016 referring to the case presented by Polisario Front and on 27th February 2018 the case of Western Sahara Campaign against the UK Government that was then referred by the UK High Court to the CJEU. Read more
(APS.dz) BRUSSELS – The Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament has adopted an amendment to the draft report on Parliament’s recommendations to the Council on the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, urging the EU to support the UN process for the regulation of the conflict in Western Sahara and to implement the decisions of its Court of Justice concerning that territory.
The amendment tabled by MEP Barbara Lochbihler on behalf of the Group of the Greens / European Free Alliance calls on the EU Council to “implement the judgments of the European Court of Justice on Western Sahara”.
On 21 December 2016, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided that the EU-Morocco association and liberalization agreements are not applicable to Western Sahara, underlining the “separate” and “distinct” status of this territory. , listed since 1963 on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories of the United Nations. Read more
elmoudjahid.com.- The European Commission will respect the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) which concluded on 27 February that the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement is not applicable to Western Sahara, said the head of the European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini who stressed that the decisions of this Court are “binding” for the EU institutions and its member states.
The European Commission will respect the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) which concluded on 27 February that the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement is not applicable to Western Sahara, said the head of the European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini who stressed that the decisions of this Court are “binding” for the EU institutions and its member states. “The Commission will respect the judgment of the CJEU, whose decisions are binding on all the EU institutions and all the Member States,” she wrote in her response to MEP Miguel Urban Crespo, who urged Commission to suspend negotiations on new trade, agriculture and fisheries agreements with Morocco.
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has stated that the Commission has “taken note” of the ECJ judgment and “closely examines it in order to determine the consequences and possible measures to be taken “. Referring to the other judgment of the CJEU delivered on 21 December 2016, the head of European diplomacy acknowledged that the EU-Morocco Association Agreement “does not currently provide any legal basis for granting tariff preferences to products coming from occupied Western Sahara. Read more
eldia.es Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 6 / Mar / 18
Mohamed Khadad, head of the Polisario Front’s external relations with MINURSO, warned today that if the decision of the European Court of Justice is not respected and a final agreement is reached, fishing vessels in the Canaries will be prohibited from exploiting fishing resources in the waters of Western Sahara.
“Fishing in the waters of Western Sahara is a tradition of the Canaries, we respect and want them to continue, but we can not accept that Morocco is negotiating and benefiting from the exploitation of resources,” Mohamed Khadad said in a press conference today.
Khadad also recalled that the Polisario Front will be open from today on to open negotiations and agreements within the legal framework defined by the Court of Justice of the European Union for the continuation of fishing in Saharawi waters.
For his part, Polisario Front lawyer Gilles Devers recalled that the aim of the movement is the liberation of the Saharawi territory, and stressed the need for governments not to turn this case into an economic issue of “simple” fishing rights. Read more
Source: Federation of Fishermen’s Guilds of the Canary Islands; Canary Islands, March 2018.
Canarian fishermen have a historical relationship with the Sahara fishing bank which was modified by the abandonment of Western Sahara in 1976 by the Spanish State, which failed to fulfil its obligations to the Saharawi people, not allowing them exercise its right to self-determination.
Since then, we have witnessed a succession of fisheries agreements, between Spain first and the European Union later, with Morocco which meant for the fishermen of the Canaries a progressive expulsion of the fishermen and for the Saharawi people to see how the riches of the their seas are plundered by predatory fishing practices developed by powerful foreign fleets, allowed and encouraged by the Moroccan occupation administration.
This situation was declared contrary to the law in the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 21 December 2016 – C-104/16 P-. This judicial decision recognized that Morocco and Western Sahara are distinct and separate territories, by virtue of the Charter of the United Nations and the principle of self-determination of peoples, considering that the agreements between the European Union and Morocco do not apply to the Territory of Western Sahara or their waters, so that European companies can not under any circumstances use Moroccan permits to operate in Western Sahara. This judicial body also affirms that the determining factor is not to evaluate whether a specific economic activity can be favourable or not to the Saharawi population, but to ensure that the representative of the Saharawi people, the Polisario Front, has given its consent for its development. Thus, European legislation makes clear that any economic activity on the territory of Western Sahara is subject to the express agreement of the Polisario Front, the only representative of the Saharawi people, in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 34/37. Read more
The cancellation of the Transavia Paris-Dahkla connection was announced today, the reasons for the cancellation were not published on the company’s online page but it can be verified that the last flight is on the 22 March 2018.
According to the Moroccan online newspaper Le Desk “Polisario has canceled the Paris-Dakhla line operated by Transavia”, the Spanish news agency EFE has another title “The first airway that linked the Saharawi city of Dakhla with Paris failed” and refers to the explanation of Tourisma Post (a moroccan site) “The flight, which opened in October, thanks to the efforts of the Moroccan National Tourism Office, has not been profitable since it opened in the off-season months (October to March).
Following the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of December 2016, the Polisario Front sued on 25 October 2017 Transavia, a low-cost Dutch airline owned by Air France-KLM, due to the flight inaugurated in October 2017 linking Paris-Orly to Dakhla, a city located in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, a territory under military occupation by Morocco since 1975 and over which it has no legitimacy or sovereignty. Read more