Rabat, Morocco (TMT)- The European Court of Justice has dismissed the case brought by the Polisario Front, a Western Sahara region separative movement, to invalidate EU-Morocco deals, concluding that the court “dismisses the action brought by the Front populaire pour la libération de la saguia-el-hamra et du rio de oro (Front Polisario) as inadmissible” and “Orders the Front populaire pour la libération de la saguia-el-hamra et du rio de oro (Front Polisario) to bear its own costs and to pay those incurred by the Council of the European Union.”
A freshly released statement from Europe’s top court said that, “In 2012, the EU and Morocco concluded an agreement providing for reciprocal liberalisation measures on agricultural products, processed agricultural products and fish and fishery products.”
In the aftermath, the Front Polisario brought an action before the European lower General Court seeking the annulment of that agreement, advancing that the territory encompasses the disputed region of Western Sahara.
On the 10th of December 2015, the lower General Court ruled in favor of the Front Polisario, annulling the decision pending the examining of “whether there was any evidence of the exploitation of the natural resources of the territory of Western Sahara under Moroccan control likely to be to the detriment of its inhabitants and to infringe their fundamental rights,” stressing back-then that the Morocco-EU “Agreements were applicable ‘to the territory of the Kingdom of Morocco’ and that that expression was to be understood, in the absence of a stipulation to the contrary, as encompassing Western Sahara.”
Morocco then suspended all contacts with the EU over the ruling, which prompted the European organization, in a bet to avoid a row with Morocco, deemed a critical ally in fighting terrorism, managing migration, and an important trade partner, to lodge an appeal at the European Court of Justice, the top court, against the low court ruling, seeking the annulment of the initial ruling of the lower court.
This week, the top court’s (European Court of Justice) decision overruled the 2015 decision of the lower general court, concluding that the Morocco-EU “Agreement does not apply to the territory of Western Sahara,” stressing that “the Front Polisario is not concerned by the decision of the Council to conclude that agreement. The Court therefore rejects the Front Polisario’s action on the ground of lack of standing.”
The European Court of Justice ruling can be found here: click here.
The Moroccan Times.