From early May, the Royal Air Maroc ran a propaganda campaign in Strasbourg selling trips to the occupied territory of Western Sahara.
In the midst of the #MoroccoGate corruption scandal that has shook the European institutions, the Moroccan government is seemingly trying to pimp its facade in the EU capital of Strasbourg, France, where the EU Parliament resides once a month.
From early May, a large campaign featuring public posters of the airline Royal Air Maroc informed of cheap flights over the next half year to Dakhla - which in reality is not at all in Morocco.
The poster also includes the logo of airline alliance OneWorld.
The propaganda posters are, somewhat ironically, informing that the poster is “retouchée”.
Six rulings from the EU Court of Justice from 2015 to 2021 clearly define Western Sahara, and hence Dakhla, as not at all part of Morocco. In 1979, the UN General Assembly called on Morocco to end the occupation of Dakhla and Western Sahara. Also the International Court of Justice, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, the African Union and the European Union are clear that Western Sahara is not part of Morocco. The EU Court has even ruled that Western Sahara is not covered by the EU-Morocco aviation agreement, a decision that the European Commission is adhering to.
There is, as such, no legal framework in place to govern commercial airport services between the EU and the last colony in Africa.
An earlier version of this article explained that the Moroccan consul general in Strasbourg has been «pushing» the participation of the youth organisation Organisation des Jeunes pour l’Union Européenne et Africaine (OJUEA) to travel from Strasbourg to Dakhla. OJUEA has informed WSRW that this was not correct, and that the initiative to the organisation's mission to Dakhla in February 2023 was their own. The group published numerous highly pro-Moroccan social media posts in relation to its trip. WSRW has written OJUEA questions relating to the purpose of this mission and the content of their posts.
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