The Moroccan position on agricultural and fishing agreements reinforced by the conclusions of the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice

22 March 2024
The Moroccan position on agricultural and fishing agreements reinforced by the conclusions of the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice has published the conclusions of its Advocate General in the cases on the Agricultural and Fisheries Agreements with Morocco.

Among the recommendations of Ms. Tamara Capeta, the need to overturn the judgment of the Court of First Instance of the EU and to maintain the validity of the agricultural agreement between Morocco and the Union. “The Court was wrong to annul the decision approving, on behalf of the European Union, a preferential tariff treatment agreement with Morocco” relating to the Southern Provinces, underlines the European lawyer. In doing so, the CJEU Lawyer confirmed that the applicability of the agreement to products coming from the Moroccan Sahara is entirely legal.

Concerning the Morocco-EU fishing agreement, the conclusions of the General Advocate joined a long-expressed Moroccan point of view calling for an in-depth overhaul of the partnership for better development of the southern provinces, which inevitably involves the preservation of halieutics resources. This is a blow to separatist allegations calling for invalidating the fishing agreement.

The amalgams long relayed by the Polisario have, moreover, not been spared by Ms. Capeta having affirmed that “the Polisario is not recognized as the representative of the people of Western Sahara by the United Nations or the European Union” (para. 81), just as he “has never been elected” by the population, and “it is impossible to determine with certainty whether the Polisario enjoys the support of the majority” (para. 83 ). Ms. Capeta also affirms that the “polisario” has “never been granted the status of a national liberation movement by the United Nations or the European Union and its member states” (p.20). She concludes that the The claim of the “Polisario” that it would be “the sole representative” of the Sahara is not consistent with the position of the European Union.

Another major conclusion, which will not fail to embarrass the Polisario, Ms. Capeta underlined that the European Union is entitled to conclude agreements with Morocco covering its southern provinces, the Kingdom being the only authority authorized to conclude agreements covering its Saharan territory. Conversely, the “polisario” has no quality or capacity to take advantage of such a legal act, say’s Ms. Capeta.

Finally, the Attorney General, Ms. Capeta, made a very favorable reference to the Moroccan Autonomy Plan for the Southern Provinces, considering that since 2018, support for this Initiative “presented by the Kingdom of Morocco in 2007 seems to be increasing . Likewise, the vocabulary used in Security Council resolutions appears to have evolved. Thus, from the year 2018, the wording of the Security Council resolutions underlines the need to achieve a political, realistic, pragmatic, lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the question of Western Sahara, which is based on compromise.

Ms Capeta’s conclusions are certainly part of a consultative and non-binding procedure for the CJEU. For its part, Morocco is not a party to this procedure. The fact remains that these conclusions were formulated by an eminent authority of the European Court, who through his objectivity highlighted the correctness of the positions and the pragmatism of Morocco, and undermined, along the way, some of the most serious allegations, long conveyed by the Polisario.

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