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EU deeply divided over Western Sahara policy

A European Court of Justice decision excluding Western Saharan exports from receiving preferential tariffs granted to Morocco has highlighted the need for the European Union to address the issue of who represents the people of Western Sahara.
A woman holds a placard with both the Morocco and EU flags during a rally by Moroccans and supporters of Morocco at the EU-Morocco summit in Granada March 7, 2010.  REUTERS/Pepe Marin  (SPAIN - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR2BCFI
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Members of the European Parliament met with representatives of the European Union’s diplomatic and executive branches on March 20 to discuss the future of relations with Morocco. The EU-Moroccan relationship reached a historic low last December, when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the association and free-trade agreements between the EU and Morocco do not apply to the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

In practical terms, the ruling by the EU’s highest court means that products from Western Sahara cannot benefit from the same preferential tariff quotas as products from Morocco. The commercial repercussions of the ruling may appear limited at first, but its political implications have turned the relationship between Rabat and Brussels sour.

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