EU and Western Sahara: The Hassle and the Controversy! | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

EU and Western Sahara: The Hassle and the Controversy!

On Monday, June 11th of 2018, the European Commission adopted an agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between Morocco and the European Union (EU) in order to grant preferential tariffs to products originating from occupied Western Sahara, particularly agricultural and fisheries products. This agreement will serve as an amendment to the Association Agreement between Morocco and the EU if later adopted by the European Parliament. The Moroccan authorities have been plundering the natural resources of Western Sahara for many decades with the complicity of several foreign firms and the support of Western powers, such as France and Spain who only run after their own benefits and personal interests. Funny enough, unlike in other cases, No embargo, no boycott, no sanctions, yet used or decreed by the international community against Morocco and companies that violate international law regarding the exploitation of the resources of a country still considered non-self governing territory. According to European justice, the inclusion of territory in the scope of the fisheries agreement "would violate several rules of international law, including the principle of self-determination". According to Dr. Ghali Zbeir, a Saharawi official and an expert in the natural resources stated that no less than 56 companies of different nationalities and continents have signed contracts with Morocco and are active in various fields of economic activity in the territory of Western Sahara. Still, according to him, there are 9 companies in fishing, 18 in oil and gas exploration, 7 in electricity and renewable energies, 18 in phosphates, 4 in mining exploration, 2 in agriculture and as much in financing and other services. On 21st December 2016, the highest European court had already ordered that Western Sahara be excluded from the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement. The fisheries agreement was not included in this dossier. The court recognizes the fact that the "separate and distinct status" of Western Sahara recognized by the United Nations should be taken into account. This decision, a victory for the people of Western Sahara and their legal representative the Polisario, provoked strong tensions between Brussels and Rabat. They were both forced to renegotiate the agricultural agreement. These negotiations are still ongoing. Just few days ago, the Polisario Front filed a new appeal against the decision of the Council of the European Union (EU) authorizing the Commission to open negotiations with Morocco to extend the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement to the Sahara Western and its maritime space, announced M'hamed Khadad, member of the Polisario Secretariat. Replacing consent with fake consultation...