morocco and eu continue negotiations to include western sahara in agricultural agreement
Last Updated : GMT 09:03:51
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Last Updated : GMT 09:03:51
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Morocco and EU Continue Negotiations to Include Western Sahara in Agricultural Agreement

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Almaghrib Today, almaghrib today Morocco and EU Continue Negotiations to Include Western Sahara in Agricultural Agreement

Morocco and EU Discuss Amending Agriculture Deal
Rabat - Al Maghrib Today

 Negotiations between Morocco and the European Union to amend the 2012 agricultural agreement in the favor of Morocco are proceeding, said the European Union Commission following a meeting between Nasser Bourita and Federica Mogherini in Brussels.

On Monday, Bourita, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, held talks on possible amendments to the agricultural exchange agreement between Morocco and the EU, “in order to overcome the obstacles of the decision of the European Court of Justice.”

The EU court ruled in December 21, 2016 that the agreement between EU and Morocco, signed in 2012, on the mutual liberalization of the trade of agricultural and fishing products did not apply to the territory of Western Sahara.

This meant that Morocco could not legally export products to Europe that were extracted or made in the Western Sahara.

Nevertheless, after the ruling of the European Court, Denmark and Sweden – countries known for having popular support for Polisario – have continued importing Moroccan goods originating in the Sahara.

“It is significant that the Danish Foreign Minister defended last July his country’s imports from the region, saying that they benefit the population of the region,” explained senior analyst Samir Bennis.

The desire to overcome the Court of Justice’s verdict was reflected in the launch of a new round of negotiations last May, bring a possible amendment closer to fruition.

According to a member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), “the path is open for negotiations,” which “will take place in the upcoming weeks,” revealed Ahmed Reda Chami, Morocco’s ambassador to the European Union during a press conference in Brussels on October 26.

These negotiations are “an important milestone in building a more balanced partnership between EU and Morocco, and show the EU’s willingness to implicitly admit the Moroccan sovereignty over the Southern province, thus putting a heavy pressure on Polisario,” said political analyst Reda El Falah.

During his visit to the Spanish capital Madrid last May, Bourita said that he was confident Rabat and Brussels would find a solution to “protect important ties between Morocco and the EU and take into account the strategic interests of both sides.”

From Agriculture to Aviation

On Tuesday, the European Parliament adopted the EU-Morocco air agreement by a large majority of 511 votes.

This agreement gives European airways “unrestricted freedom, landing, take-off, passenger and cargo, between the EU and Morocco,” including the southern regions of Morocco.

The verdict is particularly significant, given that it comes almost a year after the ruling of the European Court Justice ruling on the agriculture agreement and “shows that Polisario no longer enjoys the same support as it did in the past,” said Bennis.

While negotiations are in force, “it becomes clear that Moroccan economic ties with foreign powers are deepening and becoming more diversified, such for instance the promising partnership with Russia, China and the economic community of west Africa,” noted Reda.

The analyst explained that the dependency of Moroccan exports sectors on European market is decreasing and becoming less critical for Morocco.

In line with these important geo-economic changes, “Morocco and the EU shall reconsider their mutual economic cooperation with rational criteria in order to keep their traditional relationships,” Reda said.

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