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Sahrawis, EU in standoff over Moroccan trade agreement

The Polisario Front criticizes the EU’s farm trade agreement with Morocco because it also applies to the disputed territory of the Western Sahara; by bringing this agreement before the EU’s highest court, the Polisario Front puts its claim for independence back on the agenda.
A picture taken on May 13, 2013 shows facilities of the factory of the National Moroccan phosphates company (OCP/public) in Marca, near Laayoune, the capial of Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. As a global leader in the market for phosphate and its derivatives, OCP has been a key player in the international market since its founding in 1920, the worlds largest exporter of phosphate rock and phosphoric acid and one of the worlds largest fertilizer producers.    AFP PHOTOS/FADEL SENNA        (Photo credit s
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On July 19, the Western Sahara’s national liberation movement, the Polisario Front, and the European Council had yet another standoff at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The latest dispute goes back to December 2015, when the CJEU partially revoked the 2012 Morocco-EU farm trade agreement. The court decided that the European Council had failed to appropriately examine its role in the exploitation of natural resources in the Western Sahara. The council was urged to verify that agricultural and fishing exports to the EU were not violating fundamental rights of the people of the Western Sahara, the Sahrawi.

The European Council decided to contest the CJEU's decision, this time with the support of five former colonial states — France, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Belgium. In March, Rabat increased pressure by suspending contacts with the EU until Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, traveled to Morocco to reassure her support.

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