EU launches talks on deepening economic relations with Morocco
Article image
"Just announced the launch of negotiations for a free-trade agreement with Morocco,'' European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso tweeted on Friday, after his meeting with Morocco’s prime minister Abdelillah Benkirane. That Free Trade Agreement will have consequences for Western Sahara.
Published 04 March 2013


With Barroso’s visit to Rabat last week, the European Commission has officially commenced its talks with Morocco on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA); a large-scale trade deal that will substantially deepen the Union’s already tight-knit trade ties with Morocco.

Though geared at facilitating the gradual integration of Morocco’s economy into the EU’s single market, the DCFTA is likely to drag occupied Western Sahara into the equation. So far, the EU has neglected to exclude the occupied territory from its trade deals with Morocco – thereby backing up Morocco’s untenable claims to its southern neighbour and undermining the UN peace process it claims to neutrally support.

Through intensifying trade with and investment opportunities in Morocco, European businesses risk becoming part of the protracted conflict if enticed to undertake commercial activities in a territory that the UN still classifies as a colony.

The Commission’s move to launch the DCFTA talks at this time is off-base. Just last week, it became public that the Frente Polisario has filed a law suit against the Council of the European Union at the European Court of Justice over the EU-Morocco agricultural agreement, for failing to exclude Western Sahara.

According to Reuters, trade between the EU and Morocco amounted up to approximately 24 billion euros in 2011, and the EU is keen to open up trade in the services sector. Morocco is also the largest recipient of European neighbourhood aid, with 580.5 million euros earmarked for 2011-2013.

Last year, 31 Saharawi civil society organisations from occupied Western Sahara and the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria wrote a letter to the European Commission, requesting the exclusion of their country from the geographical application of the DCFTA. The European Commission has not consulted them so far in the process.

Saharawis demonstrated against Siemens Gamesa

Saharawis in Bilbao, Spain, demonstrated as a cargo vessel is arriving to pick up more controversial windmill components for occupied Western Sahara.  

03 December 2021

SRI update

The following overview enlists stock-exchange registered companies currently operating in Western Sahara. Updated 1 December 2021.

01 December 2021

Sweden opposes Council appeal on Western Sahara court ruling

In a move that surprised no one, the EU Council has appealed the recent EU Court of Justice stopping EU trade and fisheries in occupied Western Sahara. But Council was not unanimous. UPDATE 06.12.2021.

29 November 2021

Saharawi government launches climate plan

Here is the Saharawi people’s contribution to the global fight against climate change, presented at a side-event of COP26 today.

08 November 2021