Morocco-EU Agreement: Will the verdict of the European Court be influenced by Spain?

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is expected on Wednesday to deliver its final verdict on the appeal brought by the Polisario against the Morocco-EU association agreement which includes the Moroccan Sahara. The verdict covers two aspects, agriculture and fishing, two subjects for which Spain’s interventionism has been singled out.

Wednesday morning, the CJEU must give its last word on this case brought by the Polisario against Morocco. The affair goes back several years already and the Polisario, despite having been rejected on numerous occasions, continues to attack Morocco on this important trade agreement, as much for the Moroccan side as for the European side.

The Polisario brought an action for annulment of this agreement, considering that the European Union and Morocco would “not have the competence to conclude an international agreement applicable to the Sahara”, judging that the Saharawi people would be “represented” by the Polisario.

But, in fact, the European Court had already ruled on this point, on December 21, 2016, indicating that the Polisario does not represent the people of the Sahara. The case began to be dealt with in early March and has seen twists and turns since, especially when the Polisario joined forces with Spanish agricultural lobbies against the integration of the Sahara into products exported by Morocco.

“Morocco and the European Union have found a peaceful voice to be able to develop their relations. This is nothing new. Morocco was able to assert its rights on everything related to fishing and agriculture, therefore all the important exchanges that exist between Morocco and the EU, ”said economist and political scientist, Driss Aissaoui in a statement. at MoroccoLatestNews FR.

“Now it is true that the Polisario militias helped by Algeria have introduced appeals and they are helped from time to time by lobbies, particularly the Spanish lobbies which are really competitors to the Moroccan economy”, a- he recognized. “When you have such a large lobby involved in the process, it becomes more complicated. This is where we have to ask questions, ”he added.

On the subject of the diplomatic crisis between Madrid and Rabat, “we noticed that on the official level, first of all, Morocco and Spain have improved their relations, it is no longer the problematic relations that we had with Madrid, and the changes that have been carried out at the institutional level have been made so as to remove people who had hostile positions vis-à-vis Morocco, ”explained Mr. Aissaoui, referring to the remoteness of Morocco. former Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha Laya Gonzales.

“At the moment there is no signal that says they are going to vote against Morocco. Since things look like this, we cannot expect that there will be a change in attitude or position, ”argued the analyst.

Double standards in Spain

The partnership between the Polisario militias with the Spanish agricultural lobbies began in July, and is understandable given that the fruits and vegetables exported by Morocco compete with Spanish products on the European market. But in Spain, only agriculture poses a problem, in terms of fishing it is a whole different story, and it is one of the terms of the agreement that they want to preserve at all costs.

Because, on the halieutic level, Spain is the main beneficiary of the European fishing agreement with Morocco and derives colossal revenues from this fishing carried out in Moroccan waters, especially those of the Sahara, of which it has made a real bait and tourist argument.

Of the 110 European boats present in Moroccan waters, 92 are Spanish, from Andalusian, Galician and Canarian fleets, and Spanish fishermen did not hesitate to share their concerns when Rabat and Madrid were in crisis. The latter feared that Morocco would cut them off in March, at the height of the diplomatic crisis between the two kingdoms which began after the illegal reception and in the secrecy of the leader of the Sahrawi separatist militias of the Polisario.

The subject of the predominance of Spanish boats and the phenomenon of overfishing has also been at the center of strong demands and tensions on the side of the Moroccan fishermen’s unions who have launched an alert on the non-compliance of Spanish fishermen with the terms and conditions of the protocol, and called on the Moroccan government as well as the Moroccan patrols to monitor these European and especially Spanish boats which fish more than their quotas and threaten the fish stocks in Moroccan waters.

Last May, several fishing unions warned about the depletion of Moroccan fishery resources because of this phenomenon of overfishing by Spanish boats, while Moroccan boats are subject to several drastic conditions and many of them have been forced to remain moored in the ports, they argued, calling on the Moroccan authorities not to renew the fishing agreement which disadvantages them.



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