Trading Saharawi rights for Moroccan migrants
visa.jpg

Several EU Member States have issued statements indicating their support to Council's decision to appeal the European Court’s decision to annul the EU’s agricultural agreement with Morocco. But why is that, really?
Published: 17.03 - 2016 20:15Printer version    
The Court Of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decided on 10 December 2015 to annul the EU-Morocco agricultural deal in so far as it was applied in Western Sahara – a Non-Self Governing Territory that is largely under Moroccan military control since 1975.

Morocco was less than amused.

On 25 February, Morocco stated that it would stop all communication with the European Union – an official confirmation of what most EU officials had already observed in practice. Morocco does not appreciate that its “sovereignty” over Western Sahara is now being questioned. The Court had stated that Morocco has no mandate whatsoever to administer Western Sahara. No State in the world recognizes Morocco’s claim over its southern neighbour.

Morocco has not only closed off the lines of communication, it is also refusing cooperation in several multi-million bilateral programs, including on security exercises. As if its intransigence on anti-terror programs wasn’t enough to unnerve EU decision makers, playing hard-ball on the EU’s envisioned readmission agreement seemingly results in paralysis. The EU had high hopes for a deal with Morocco through which the Union could send back Moroccans who are unlawfully staying in the Member States. Though the issue has been on the EU's wish-list since 2000, the need for such an arrangement has gained a sense of urgency as more and more complaints arise in different Member States with regard to the conduct of Moroccan immigrants (e.g. Cologne).

Sources close to the Commission have confirmed to WSRW that Morocco is refusing to collaborate. It will not take back its own nationals. Morocco’s obstinacy has induced several Member States to go solo. With success – albeit conditional. The Belgian government has achieved a much-desired migrant-return deal with the Moroccans, but is now officially backing the Council’s appeal against the annulment of the EU-Morocco agricultural agreement’s application in Western Sahara. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has officially declared this in Rabat. An article in the Belgian leading newspaper De Standaard of 3 March was titled "Disgraceful how Belgium is bending over for Morocco".

"Ce n'est pas qu'une affaire de tomates et de sardines. C'est une affaire politique, géostratégique très importante" Moroccan Prime Minister Abdel Ilah Benkiran, 29 February 2016 [or download]. Moroccan media reports that Germany will also intervene on Morocco’s behalf in the appeal, as Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière would have announced in Rabat on 29 February 2016. The German federal government announced on the same day on its website that it had entered into a readmission agreement with Morocco.

“Remarkable how Germany - viewed as an example in dealing with the refugee crisis – is now acting against the interests of a people forced to flee their country by Morocco; the Saharawi refugees”, says Axel Goldau, WSRW’s coordinator for Germany.

Sweden, the government with the strongest position on Western Sahara within the EU, tried for a long time to strike a deal with Morocco on what to do with hundreds of Moroccan boys who suddenly were living on the streets of Sweden's major cities. Sweden wanted to repatriate them to Morocco, but Morocco did not want to receive them. "The Moroccan street kids have become pawns in the game over Western Sahara", a Swedish journalist commented. An agreement to repatriate the hundreds of children was finally struck between the governments of Sweden and Morocco two days after Sweden announced its decision to do a u-turn on its Western Sahara policy by not recognising the Western Sahara republic as the government parties and the parliament had wanted, and a month after surprisingly joining the other EU States in its appeal of the European court decision.

A reversed scenario is being played out in the Netherlands, in spite of having a readmission deal in place. As the Dutch government has decided to terminate the 4-decade old social security agreement due to Morocco's make-or-break demand of applying the deal in Western Sahara, Morocco refuses to take back Moroccans residing illegally in the Netherlands. In 2015, the Dutch government issued 215 requests to Rabat; between zero and five of those were granted. The Ministry rounds to the nearest five. The 20 requests issued in January this year weren't replied to. The Moroccan government blames the Dutch for their position on Western Sahara in the social security tug-of-war.

As the EU States are pushing the European Court of Justice to favour the Moroccan position, the losers are the people of Western Sahara. Half of them have been living as refugees in the desert of Algeria for 40 years, while Morocco in partnership with the EU illegally exploits the resources of their territory.

    
News:

07.12 - 2017 / 07.12 - 2017Siemens: the Moroccan king's wind turbine supplier in Western Sahara
05.12 - 2017 / 13.11 - 2017EU fish support to Morocco builds Western Sahara fish industry
21.11 - 2017 / 11.11 - 2017Paradise Papers: New light on Glencore structure
10.11 - 2017 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
31.10 - 2017 / 12.10 - 2017Moroccan wind energy in occupied Western Sahara passing 40%
31.10 - 2017 / 31.10 - 2017Interview with Jytte Guteland: 1 of 5 MEPs evicted from Western Sahara
30.10 - 2017 / 10.10 - 2017UK company building wind park in occupied Western Sahara
26.10 - 2017 / 26.10 - 2017Kosmos surveying oil potential near Dakhla again?
24.10 - 2017 / 24.10 - 2017EU Parliament approves Morocco aviation deal including Western Sahara
24.10 - 2017 / 24.10 - 2017EU-Morocco trade talks: replacing Saharawis with Moroccans
23.10 - 2017 / 20.10 - 2017Imminent vote on EU-Morocco aviation deal, covering Western Sahara
11.10 - 2017 / 10.10 - 2017Wärtsilä to build power plant in occupied Western Sahara
09.10 - 2017 / 09.10 - 2017Morocco announces 500% increase of agriculture zone in occupied Dakhla
27.09 - 2017 / 26.09 - 2017EU appears clueless on import levels from Western Sahara
27.09 - 2017 / 25.09 - 2017New report: Sweden must advise companies on Western Sahara
01.09 - 2017 / 01.09 - 2017Saharawi organisations slam EU over trade talks with Morocco
19.07 - 2017 / 18.07 - 2017Civilian court follows military court against Saharawi activists
13.07 - 2017 / 13.07 - 2017Western Sahara has won its conflict cargo case in South Africa
10.07 - 2017 / 10.07 - 2017Siemens inconsistently supporting occupations
05.07 - 2017 / 05.07 - 2017Sign up! Stop EU trade talks with Morocco regarding Western Sahara!




EN ES FR DE AR

Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!

tn_court_photo_gdeim_izik_610.jpg

Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch

tn_sjovik_demo_610.jpg

Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder

tn_poweringplunder_eng_610.jpg

At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.
The Western Sahara oil curse

tn_san_leon_protest_camps_8_august_2015_610x200.jpg

Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.

WSRW.org News Archive 2017
WSRW.org News Archive 2016
WSRW.org News Archive 2015
WSRW.org News Archive 2014
WSRW.org News Archive 2013
WSRW.org News Archive 2012
WSRW.org News Archive 2011
WSRW.org News Archive 2010
WSRW.org News Archive 2009
WSRW.org News Archive 2008
WSRW.org News Archive 2007
WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006


Register for our English newsletter:









These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy