The Polisario Front, the UN-recognised representation of the people of Western Sahara, has brought action against the EU-Morocco plans to continue cooperating on fisheries in occupied Western Sahara, in spite of now two judgments of the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) invalidating such practices.
The announcement of Polisario’s new law suit against the EU Council, comes days after the EU Commission submitted a proposed trade arrangement for Western Sahara to the EU Member States and the EU Parliament. The proposal aims at extending the scope of the EU-Morocco Trade Protocols into Western Sahara. The Commission negotiated the deal with Morocco, and has not bothered to seek the consent of the people of Western Sahara, in spite of the CJEU’s judgment of December 2016 explicitly stating this legal requirement.
The Member States are expected to vote on the proposal mid-July.
Instead of seeking the consent of the Western Sahara people, the Commission is alleged to have resorted to a consultation process of Moroccan politicians and economic operators. The Commission’s claim that Polisario took part in the consultation process appear false, as proven by the correspondence between the Polisario and the EU External Action Service.
Civil society groups, including Western Sahara Resource Watch, have been added to the list of consulted stakeholders, even though they never took part in – or weren’t even invited to take part in – the consultation exercise in the first place. The list that has now been transmitted by the Commission to the Member States and the Parliament can thus be said to be 83 per cent made up.
“WSRW condemns the EU Commission’s misuse of our name, and the names of other civil society groups, in an attempt to legitimize an illegal trade agreement,” the activists said.
“Please note that Polisario has also initiated legal proceedings against the EU-Morocco aviation agreement, Polisario asks annulment of the deal over its application to Western Sahara, while none of the concluding parties – Morocco and the EU – are in a position to conclude agreements on behalf of the territory.
“In the midst of the madness, a new book on the plunder of Western Sahara has been published. Find out how you can get your copy of “Profit over Peace in Western Sahara”, which comes in English and Arabic, here.