EU foreign committee does not recognise Morocco’s sovereignty over Sahara

EUThe Vice Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Anders Primdahl Vistisen, insisted that Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara is not recognised, in the context of the debate on the EU-Morocco draft agreement that aims at expanding tariffs to include products from Western Sahara.

The Danish European MP explained in a report on a draft opinion to the European Union’s International Trade Commission that “it is important to note that this agreement does not provide for the recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.”

Vistisen stressed that “the position of the European Union remains supportive of the United Nations’ efforts to reach a just and lasting settlement accepted by the two parties of the Western Sahara conflict, based on the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination, in accordance with the relevant UN regulations.”

This draft opinion also contains some basic principles that serve the Sahrawi cause, such as “the need for the consent of the Sahrawi people and their right to self-determination as well as the respect for international law, including human rights and the sustainable development of the concerned territories.”

The Rapporteur of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs said in a report that “this agreement which amends Protocols 1 and 4 of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement aims to provide guarantees on respect for international law, including human rights and the sustainable development of the concerned territories.” In this regard, the European MP was briefed on the efforts of the Committee and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to evaluate the advantages that Sahrawi people will benefit from and to ensure that they agree to this agreement within their competence.”

In addition to the European Union’s Committees on Agriculture and Foreign Affairs, the European Parliament Committee on Fisheries will also present its opinion soon. The draft recommendations and regulations related to this agreement will be presented at the level of the relevant International Trade Commission implicitly on 10 and 11 October 2018 and will be transmitted to the vote on 3 December 2018. The vote will be held at the public meeting in mid-January 2019.

The Rapporteur of the International Trade Commission (ITC), the European MP, Patricia Lalonde, pointed out that it is difficult to express an opinion on “the application of trade preferences between the EU and Morocco to products coming from Sahrawi territories, especially agricultural products (tomatoes and watermelon) and fisheries.”