EU court annuls trade deals with Morocco

The General Court of the European Union, one of the constituent courts of the European Court of Justice, has annulled two agricultural and fisheries deals between the EU and Morocco because they also include Western Sahara, which has been annexed by Morocco. Brussels cannot conclude such agreements without the consent of the Sahrawi people, the Court stated. What does the ruling mean for the future?

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La Vanguardia (ES) /

More trouble for Spain

La Vanguardia welcomes the fact that the EU has ruled in favour of Western Sahara, but fears complications:

“The ruling is a bitter pill for Rabat. ... For Morocco, sovereignty over Western Sahara is the cornerstone of its foreign policy. The country rejects any challenge to its control over the territory and frequently threatens to revise its migration and terrorism policies when it believes the EU doesn't recognise its claims. ... Ninety-one percent of the catch provided for in the fisheries agreement comes from Sahrawi waters, where 128 European vessels, including 92 Spanish ones, are allowed to fish. ... The European ruling is a new stumbling block in relations between Morocco and the EU and a major boost for the [Western Sahara liberation movement] Polisario Front.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Sahrawis need our support now!

The EU must finally rethink its stance, the taz demands:

“Following the ruling, Brussels cannot limit its actions to damage control and attempt to keep the agreement alive as long as possible using legal tricks. Human rights should take precedence over economic concerns. ... Only if Brussels and also Madrid put pressure on Rabat will there be a chance that Africa's oldest conflict can be resolved. And the people in the West Sahara urgently need such a resolution. The majority of Sahrawis have been living in refugee camps in the Algerian desert or under the yoke of repression by Morocco for more than 35 years. An entire generation of Sahrawis has never known anything else.”