Just as the Advocate General of the European Court clarifies that EU-Morocco trade cannot include Western Sahara goods, a massive cargo of fish oil is set to arrive in Normandy. "Piracy", says the European Parliament's rapporteur on the EU-Morocco trade deal.
The French politician José Bové was the European parliamentarian who was appointed as the so-called 'rapporteur' on the EU-Morocco trade deal covering agricultural and fisheries products when it passed through Parliament in 2012. In the report he wrote, he strongly warned against the legal implications if Western Sahara was not excluded from the EU-Morocco trade agreement.
He is surprised to hear about the massive import that is about to happen to Northern France, a shipment that Western Sahara Resource Watch covered on 10 September. The chemical tanker Key Bay is set to arrive in the French town of Fécamp tomorrow.
"This is nothing short of EU piracy, plundering the Saharawi resources. The Advocate General of the EU Court of Justice states unambiguously that EU-Morocco trade cannot include Western Sahara", Bové told Western Sahara Resource Watch.
"I call on the Le Havre port authorities to carefully read the Advocate General's masterly conclusions, to intercept the vessel and to effectively assess the content, origin and taxation regime of these goods", says Bové.
The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union stated 13 September 2016 that goods from Western Sahara cannot be part of the EU-Morocco trade agreement, as Western Sahara is not part of Morocco.
Bové points to the incident in Norway, where the sister vessels of Key Bay arrived from 2000 to 2010, a trade which was heavily fined by Norwegian customs when it was clear that the goods were falsely labelled as "Moroccan" when they in fact were from Western Sahara. Norway has a trade deal with Morocco - but is clear that goods from Western Sahara are not included. As the Norwegian imports ended, the Key Bay and its sister vessels started calling in at the port of Fécamp instead.
The French Green MEP welcomes the Opinion of the Advocate General.
"He has lifted the heavy veil of EU hypocrisy and Moroccan lies over Western Sahara", Bové says. "He has stated in no uncertain terms that Western Sahara is not part of Morocco and hence EU agreements with Morocco do not apply there. This validates what we have been saying all along", he stated, underlining that the EU-Morocco policy has to be "reset", in a way that is in line with human rights and the opinion of the Advocate General.
The Spanish farmers union COAG yesterday also issued a press release, urging the trade agreement to be immediately terminated.
The leading MEP on the proposal to extend EU-Morocco trade relations into occupied Western Sahara wants a legal opinion to be certain the proposed Western Sahara trade scheme meets the standards of the highest EU Court. The European Parliament is to vote this afternoon.
Members of the European Parliament request more clarity before voting on the Commission's proposed trade deal for Western Sahara. Meanwhile, 93 Western Sahara civil society groups lament the Parliament rapporteur's lack of diligence on the file.
On Monday, the European Parliament's committee for International Trade decided to delay the ratification-process of the EU-Moroccan agricultural agreement due to legal ambiguities.
What is EU's position on labelling of products from occupied Western Sahara? The EU Commission has now for the third time published a response to a parliamentary question on the matter, but the latest version fails to address the question.