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EU-Morocco agreements: MEPs denounce European Commission's proposal to include Western Sahara

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Brussels, June 23, 2018 (SPS) - Members of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) at the European Parliament denounced Thursday the European Commission's proposal to amend EU-Morocco association agreement to include products from Western Sahara, considering it inconsistent with the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered in December 2016.
In a debate at an INTA meeting on the European Commission's proposal, the member of European Parliament (MEP) Florent Marcellesi stressed the "numerous contradictions" of the Commission which while recognizing the "separate and distinct" status of Western Sahara, concludes with Rabat an agreement including this territory, where it has never been before.
Florent Marcellesi dubbed "completely contradictory" the proposal of the European Commission which does not recognize Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara, but consults Moroccan authorities, as part of the negotiations, on including Western Sahara's products in the EU-Morocco trade agreements.
He also denounced the Commission's attitude toward the legitimate representative of Western Sahara people, the Polisario Front, stressing that EU's support to the "occupying force," namely Morocco, is against the recommendations of the United Nations chief's special envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Kohler, who had insisted on the importance of enhancing the role of the Polisario Front.
MEP Jytte Guteland, for her part, said the inclusion of Western Sahara in EU-Morocco agreements "undermines" the UN peace process and the chances to reach an agreement ending the conflict.
Eurodeputy Helmut Scholz deplored the Commission's insistence on concluding an agreement including the territory of Western Sahara instead of limiting the agreement to the internationally-recognized territories of Morocco.
Member of European Parliament Anne -Marie Mineur reiterated her request for an opinion from the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the European Commission's consultation process and its proposal for the amendment of the EU-Morocco association agreement to include the products of Western Sahara.
The head of INTA Committee, Bernd Lange, said a Parliamentary fact-finding mission will be sent soon to Morocco and Western Sahara. (SPS)