Sweden's position on the opening of EU-Morocco trade talks - 2017
All EU Member States agreed to grant the EU Commission a mandate to open negotiations with Morocco for a change to the protocols to the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, allowing for trade with Western Sahara to continue within that framework. This came on the back of a ruling by the EU Court of Justice in December 2016, concluding that no EU-Morocco trade or association deal could be applied to Western Sahara unless with the explicit consent of the people of the territory.
Sweden was the only EU Member State to issue a critical statement with regard to the granting of the negotiation mandate. Read that statement below.
“Sweden supports the recommendation for a Council Decision authorising the opening of negotiations on the adaptation of protocols to the Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, since the Council decision and its annex clearly state that a future agreement between the European Council and the Kingdom of Morocco should be in line with the judgment of the European Court of Justice in Case C-104/16 P. Sweden has taken good note of the statement made by the CLS that the mandate is in line with the judgment. Sweden looks forward to the information and reports, which are to be provided by the Commission to Member States through the Council Mashreq/Maghreb Working Party in order to monitor the progress and outcome of the negotiations. Sweden notes that the Commission shall assess the potential implications of the agreement for sustainable development, in particular as regards the benefits for the people concerned. Under international law the people of Western Sahara enjoys the right to self-determination. The abovementioned judgment of the European Court of Justice states that an agreement with Morocco covering the territory of Western Sahara must receive the consent of the people of Western Sahara. Sweden understands that the use of “people concerned” in the Council decision’s annex refers to “the people of Western Sahara” in line with the judgment. Sweden’s support for a future agreement is dependent on that such an agreement fully respects international law, including the said judgment.”
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.
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