Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

The illegal trade agreements between the EU and Morocco

CEAS organization, Ecologists in Action, and Thawra PAPPS have rallies outside the ministry of agriculture, food and environment in Madrid The convening organizations want to sue the ministry which exerted more pressure to get a fishing agreement outside Human Rights and International Law, and denounce all trade agreements that the EU is currently negotiating with Morocco.

Morocco is militarily occupying part of Western, without complying with the UN resolutions, plundering natural resources that do not belong to it, and using torture to silence the protests of oppressed people.

Throughout the month of February, the European Commission (EC) and the Moroccan authorities have held several meetings with the aim of closing conditions for the renewal of the fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco. It is also expected that by mid-March, a delegation of the EC went on secret trip to Morocco to exchange initial proposals regarding the conditions for approval of a free trade agreement between the parties. Finally, nor should one forget the agricultural agreement currently in effect between the two regions.
Any commercial agreement allowing Morocco to achieve a high level of integration in the EU without becoming a member of the same, that is, which happens to be a privileged partner of the EU in economic terms, allowing the free movement of goods, services, capital and natural persons for business purposes, is denounced by the oppressed Saharawi people of Western Sahara.

Sahara Thawra: "We speak out against any trade agreement with Morocco for several reasons:
- Exploitation of Saharawi natural resources: The UN has made it clear through the opinion of Hans Corell in 2002 that the exploitation of Western Sahara's natural resources (such as phosphate, sand, uranium and fishing) is illegal if not done with the consent of the Saharawis. This is because Western Sahara is a dependent territory, pending decolonization, so the exploitation of its natural resources is contrary to international law and that no two minimum requirements are met: that the benefits of such a direct impact on the Sahrawi population, and the deal has the approval of the person who, in the words of the General Assembly of the United Nations, is their sole and legitimate representative: the Polisario Front; i.e. the EU, according to Hans Corell, violates international law agreements, including those covering the occupied Saharawi waters.

- Breach of Human Rights: The EU included in all agreements with third countries the so-called "democratic clause" which makes its application to these states respect human rights. Nevertheless, the EU concludes agreements with the ruling Alawite monarchy´in Morocco, responsible for continuing serious violations of human rights on both the Saharawi population in the Occupied Territories as on the Moroccan population. Recent examples are the violent dispersal of peaceful protest camp Gdeim Izik and subsequent harsh penalties to which a military court has sentenced to 24 Saharawi activists who were arrested after the dismantling of it.

- Effect of small farming and ranching: Smallholder agriculture and livestock in Europe, Morocco and Western Sahara would also be hit by this agreement, since this favors and benefits only agricultural and livestock production based on large-farm agribusiness. These corporations would move more intensively to Morocco and the Western Sahara looking for cheap labor, because of low wages, poor conditions of labor and little or no environmental regulation-, and flood the Spanish and European markets with its high productions, bankrupting thousands of Small Farmers as the Spanish State and Europe could not compete on equal terms. The consequences between Moroccan and the Saharawi population would be the destruction of local agriculture, with the abandonment of rural areas, the loss of subsistence agriculture and increased hunger, and loss of food sovereignty with increasing food dependency towards the exterior. Also, the abandonment of rural areas induces the loss of traditional ways of farming and ranching, characterized as having a much lesser environmental impact.

- Destruction of the marine ecosystem: To the above is added, fisheries, harmful action on the marine ecosystem, through a fishing practice especially damaging to the ecosystem: trawling, one of the most destructive fishing methods for the environment because of the physical damage caused to the seabed and the large quantity of discards produced .

Lack of democracy in the negotiations: This is caused by little or no participation in promoting the EU decision-making processes related to trade issues, for never consulting the civilian population of the countries involved, but neither is information supplied to civil society organizations that request it. Quite the opposite of what happens with big business and big business representatives, who are regularly informed of the status of negotiations.

When will the EU live up to its word? And this is the organism that received the Nobel Peace Prize?

Source: Sahara Thawra

Timofei Belov