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European Commission Agrees to Include Western Sahara in EU-Morocco Agriculture Deal

Jun 12

European Commission Agrees to Include Western Sahara in EU-Morocco Agriculture Deal

The European Commission announced today that the College of Commissioners adopted the proposal which includes Western Sahara in the Morocco-European Union agricultural agreement.

An unidentified European source told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) that this forms an “important step that has been taken since the beginning of negotiations for the adaptation of the agriculture agreement to the decision of the EU Court of Justice.”

The source confirmed that products from Western Sahara will be included in the agreement without any hindrance.

The source, quoted by MAP, said that the consultations between the concerned parties resulted in an agreement to include products from Western Sahara in the EU-Morocco deal, due to the socio-economic benefits to the region’s population and economy.

At the end of the College of Commissioners meeting, the European Commission said that the approved documents will be sent to the EU Council and the European Parliament for adoption.

The EU Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on December 21, 2016, that the agreement between EU and Morocco, signed in 2012, on the mutual liberalization of the trade of agricultural and fishing products did not apply to the territory of Western Sahara.

Representatives are still negotiating the new fisheries deal to include the waters of the Western Sahara.

In February 2018, the ECJ decided that the EU and Morocco deal “is valid in so far as it is not applicable to Western Sahara and to its adjacent waters.”

However, Morocco contested the ruling, saying it would never accept an agreement without the inclusion of Western Sahara.

Morocco also stressed that it “will not hesitate to abandon the Fisheries Agreement if it affects the sovereignty of Morocco over its southern provinces.”

Arguing the verdict of the ECJ, the European Commission introduced in March a proposal for the renewal of the fisheries deal with Morocco with a mandate for the inclusion of the Western Sahara.

In its March statement, the EU Commission said that the goal is to maintain and develop the fisheries partnership between the EU and Morocco, “by concluding an agreement and protocol that are environmentally sustainable, economically, profitable and fully in line with international and EU law.”

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