Jean-Jacques Cornish

EU top court bloodies Morocco’s nose over Western Sahara

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.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.