French government dilutes Court of Justice conclusion
morocco_france_610.jpg

A note sent from French government to the French parliamentarians in Brussels today casts doubts on whether France has studied the judgment at all. Debate on live TV takes place now.
Published: 20.03 - 2017 15:30Printer version    
From 15:00 today, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament will debate the impact and the implementation of the European Court of Justice ruling from 21 December 2016.

The court had decided that the trade agreements between the EU and Morocco cannot include products from Western Sahara.

The debate is streamed live here. [UPDATE, 16:15, debate has now ended]

Pay particular attention to the French MEPs during the debate. They have today received a particularly poor advice from Paris.

France is a key country in this. First, the French government has always been a key supporter of Morocco, both in the UN Security Council and in the EU. France has supported the occupation of Western Sahara both politically and militarily for decades. It is France who every year prevents the UN from reporting on human rights violations in the territory.

Second, France is a key importer of products from Western Sahara, both for fisheries and agriculture products. As late as on 16 March, the government of Spain underlined that a vessel that had stopped over in Canary Islands now, after the judgment, has to be duly checked upon arrival in France. The vessel arrived France in January, as the first imports into the EU after the judgement. The biggest producers of agri-products in Western Sahara are Moroccan and French.

A briefing sent today from the French government to all the French parliamentarians clearly illustrates the unwillingness of Paris to obey EU law and international law in Western Sahara.

In the note, the French government states that it wants the EU "together with Morocco, to clarify that the protocol of liberalization of agricultural products do apply to Western Sahara".

By doing that, France does not only go against the court decision, but also against the European Commission's own clarifications vis-à-vis the top EU court.

They also make severe misreadings and contradictions in the 2-pager:

The French government systematically misplaces the "people" with the "population" of Western Sahara. These are very different concepts in Western Sahara. The judgment states that Western Sahara is excluded from the trade deal, unless the representatives of the people, i.e. Front Polisario, consent. In the French misreading, this is as following: "the application of such agreements in a non-self-governing territory requires the consent of the population of the territory".

Paris has even managed to misrepresent the key argument of the judgment:

Here is the CJEU judgement's, key § 106: "a third party may be affected by the implementation of the Association Agreement in the event that the territory of Western Sahara comes within the scope of that agreement, without it being necessary to determine whether such implementation is likely to harm it or, on the contrary, to benefit it. It is sufficient to point out that, in either case, that implementation must receive the consent of such a third party. In the present case, however, the judgment under appeal does not show that the people of Western Sahara have expressed any such consent."

And, voilà, Paris: "Le fait que l’accord s’applique depuis toujours implicitement au Sahara occidental étend aux populations locales les bénéfices du régime de préférences tarifaires".

Remarkably, the French government insists that Western Sahara was included in the agreement in the first place ("Le fait que l’accord s’applique depuis toujours implicitement au Sahara occidental" or "Les institutions européennes examinent les conséquences qui doivent être tirées de la décision de la Cour de justice, afin de permettre la bonne application de l’accord agricole, conformément à la volonté initiale des deux Parties et à la pratique qui a toujours prévalu").

The correct is that the Commission stated before the Court of Justice that the EU never had the intention to include Western Sahara in the EU-Morocco agreement. During the proceedings, the European Commission claimed that the EU and Morocco had never intended to include Western Sahara in the scope of application of the Association and Liberalization agreements because such inclusion would have violated the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people (the references to the Commission's opinions are made in paragraphs 82 and 79 in the judgment).

If Paris is right in its letter, then the Commission must have lied to the Court of Justice during the proceedings in Luxembourg.

The note also underlines that France had intervened before the court on the Council's side. It should be recalled that this is not necessarily an impressive argument, as the French arguments were refuted by the court.

So far, the Commission has been silent on how the EU Member States should respond to the CJEU decision.

    
News:

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!
02.07 - 2017 / 01.07 - 2017New Chinese interest in oil search in occupied Western Sahara?
01.07 - 2017 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
30.06 - 2017 / 30.06 - 2017Here is Dura Bulk unloading Western Sahara sand in Tenerife
30.06 - 2017 / 29.06 - 2017Western Sahara solar plants expected to be operational in 2018
21.06 - 2017 / 21.06 - 2017Polisario warns shipping industry of more vessel detentions
20.06 - 2017 / 20.06 - 2017Isle of Man shipping company exits Western Sahara until settlement
16.06 - 2017 / 16.06 - 2017New report reveals the companies transporting conflict phosphate rock
15.06 - 2017 / 15.06 - 2017Saharawis won first round in conflict mineral cargo court case
12.06 - 2017 / 12.06 - 2017Wisby Tankers continues fueling occupation of Western Sahara
12.06 - 2017 / 12.06 - 2017Swedish bank excludes phosphates industry in Western Sahara
06.06 - 2017 / 19.05 - 201715 questions that Atlas Copco does not want to answer
02.06 - 2017 / 02.06 - 2017Moroccan government confirmed Glencore exit from Foum Ognit
01.06 - 2017 / 01.06 - 2017Ballance takes in new controversial cargo to replace detained vessel
30.05 - 2017 / 30.05 - 2017UN Global Compact drops Vigeo Eiris case after own goal
30.05 - 2017 / 30.05 - 2017Protests in Palma de Mallorca against sand imports
30.05 - 2017 / 29.05 - 2017Can the EU answer these questions on Western Sahara trade talks?




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

On 17 February 2013, in a mockery of justice, a Moroccan military court condemned 25 Saharawi citizens to shockingly tough prison sentences. Help us to release the Gdeim Izik 25.
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