The European Union has legally bloodied Morocco’s nose by annulling the North African Kingdom’s trade deals involving the Western Sahara it has illegally occupied since 1975 in defiance of the United Nations.
Significantly the EU’s top court acknowledges that the government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is the internationally recognized authority over Western Sahara and thus controls the agriculture and fishing in the territory under Moroccan occupation.
This is a legal victory for the POLISARIO, the ruling party in the SADR who challenges the European Council that acts on behalf of the 27 EU member-states.
It finds the EU did not secure the consent of the Saharawi people before entering into agreement with Morocco.
Polisario representative to theEU Oubi Bashir hailed “a great victory for the desert cause”.
In early 2018 the European Court of Justice ruled that a fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco cannot include the waters of the Western Sahara.
This dealt a multi-million euro blow to the cash-strapped Kingdom that relies largely on exports are dagga and oranges.
Normally, Rabat acts petulantly against challenges to its occupation of the Western Sahara.
It quit the then Organisation of African Unity when the continental body accepted the membership of the SADR.
When Spain treated SADR President Brahim Ghali for COVID earlier this year, Morocco withdrew its guards from the two Spanish enclaves on the African continent.
This allowed Moroccans fleeing human rights violations and economic constraints in their home country to pour into Ceuta and Melila seeking a better life in Europe.
The latest European Court decision is certainly a blow to EU-Morocco relations.
In this matter, the kingdom is forced to be circumspect in demonstrating its anger.
The EU is far and away the largest trading partner with Morocco and the largest foreign investor in the kingdom.