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Western Sahara

Both Morocco and the Polisario Front of Western Sahara suffered reverses on 13 September. An EU legal official declared in an advisory opinion that the waters and lands of Western Sahara are not part of Morocco (after 41 years of illegal occupation), and therefore could not be covered by any EU-Morocco trade agreements.

However, advocate general Melchior Wathelet also ruled that the Polisario Front (Western Sahara’s national liberation movement/government-in-exile) was not the sole representative of the people of Western Sahara, ‘because it is conceivable that Spain, the former colonial power of that territory, still has responsibillities in that regard’.

The Polisario Front is recognised by the UN as the political representative of the Sahrawi people, but, according to Wathelet, it should not be recognised by the EU as their economic representative, leaving them without a voice in EU decision-making.

Topics: Western Sahara