STRASBOURG – The Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) NGO called on the new rapporteur the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA), Marietje Schaake, to suspend the voting procedure on the extension of the EU-Morocco trade agreement to occupied Western Sahara, noting that the report by its predecessor, which serves as the based on the vote, contains "extremely misleading and false statements."
The European Parliament will have to vote before the end of January on the proposal to amend the protocols of the Association Agreement EU-Morocco which will extend the trade preferences the part of Western Sahara under Moroccan occupation, without respecting judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJUE).
In December 2016, the CJEU ruled that "no EU-Morocco trade or association agreement could be applied to Western Sahara" and that "Morocco has no sovereignty or international mandate to administer the territory of Western Sahara ".
In this context, the NGO WSRW has called on the new rapporteur of the INTA Committee of the European Parliament (EP), Marietje Schaake, to suspend the voting procedure on the extension of the EU-Morocco trade agreement to the Sahara Western Europe, adding that the report produced by his predecessor contains "extremely misleading and false statements and failed to respect the judgments of the European courts concerning the exploitation of the resources of the Saharawi territories."
Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake, who replaced France's Patricia Lalonde, has so far made no public comment on the proposal or report drafted by Mrs. Lalonde.
The Saharawi Resources Defense Organization informed Ms. Schaake that the INTA report had been written by the former Rapporteur of the International Trade Commission, Patricia Lalonde, who was responsible for this file by Parliament, while she was a member of the board of a Moroccan lobbying organization, until she resigned in early December 2018, following the opening of an investigation in the European Parliament on this case revealed last November by the European newspaper EuObserver.
A report "misleading" and "incorrect"
"It is incredible that a report drafted by a MEP with a pro-Moroccan agenda is still used for the voting procedure of Parliament." There is every reason to doubt the veracity of the statements contained in the report, which contains misleading and incorrect elements, "denounced the president of the NGO, Sara Eyckmans calling the new rapporteur, Marietje Schaake, to suspend the voting procedure on the extension of the EU-Morocco trade agreement to the Saharawi territories.
The President of WSRW also pointed out that the Committee on International Trade of the European Parliament did not take into account in its report the respect of the judgments of the CJEU , including the obligation for the EU to obtain prior consent from the Saharawi population for any agreement with the Makhzen including the exploitation of resources of Sahrawi territories.
"Three delegates of the Committee on International Trade (and not of the European Parliament as a whole), belonging to political groups representing only 20% of the composition of the Parliament, went to Western Sahara but did not the situation on the ground, "the NGO said.
She added in this wake that "the members of INTA went only to the occupied part of Western Sahara and did not visit the territories under Polisario control, nor the Sahrawi refugee camps where they live. half of the Saharawi populations ".
Referring to the resignation of Patricia Lalonde MEP from her position as rapporteur of INTA, following "serious revelations of conflict of interest", the NGO president considered that "this would justify the deletion of any reference to INTA's fact-finding mission in this report ".
Calling on the Commission to ensure compliance with European rules on the origin of products imported into the continent, Western Sahara Resource argued that Morocco has a legal obligation to export only goods with a certificate of origin. Moroccan origin and originating in the Kingdom, not including those of Western Sahara.