European Court's judgment now available in English
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On 10 December 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union annulled the EU-Morocco agricultural agreement in so far as it applies to Western Sahara. The entire text of the judgment is now also available in English.
Published 19 April 2016


The English translation is available on the Court's webpage. The translation was uploaded only few days ago.

Through this link, please find an annotated version of the official translation by WSRW and Emmaus Stockholm, containing further factual background to the Court's decision.

As recognized by the EU Council itself (point. 81:“no EU institution had ever recognised, de facto or de jure, Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara”), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) confirms that “the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco over Western Sahara is not recognised by the European Union or its Member States, or more generally by the UN”(point. 241). It further states that Western Sahara “is not included in the recognised international frontiers of [Morocco] (point 232), and “that the Kingdom of Morocco does not have any mandate granted by the UN or by another international body for the administration of [Western Sahara]” (point 233).

The CJEU decision echoes the 4 July 2014 Decision of Spain's High Court, the Audiencia Nacional which confirms that Spain, not Morocco, is the administering power over Western Sahara, and that the "territory cannot be considered Moroccan". The Judgment literally states that 1975 Madrid Agreement partitioning the then Spanish Sahara to Morocco and Mauritania in 1975, is "null and without legal effect". Read the official English translation of the Audiencia Nacional's Judgment here.

All these findings confirm that, despite 40 years of illegal occupation and the failure of Spain to fulfill its mandate, the principles laid down by the International Court of Justice in its 1975 Advisory Opinion on Western Sahara remain unchanged: Morocco has no sovereignty over Western Sahara and the Saharawi people must be free to exercise their right to self-determination.

The CJEU's Judgment of 10 December 2015 did not please the Moroccan government, which reacted by freezing all relations with the EU shortly after. The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, almost immediately voiced the EU Council's intent to appeal, which was officially brought on 19 February 2016. Read more about Council's reasons for appealing here.

Two other cases are currently before the CJEU. One is also initiated by Frente Polisario and aims to cancel the EU fisheries in the Western Sahara territory. The other is a case initiated by Western Sahara Campaign UK regarding labelling of goods - a case which was forwarded to the CJEU by a UK court in October 2015.

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