Spain fears new tensions with Morocco after EU court ruling

On Wednesday, September 29, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) annulled bilateral fisheries and agricultural agreements concluded in 2018 and 2019 by the EU-27 and the Kingdom of Morocco. Could diplomatic tensions once again escalate between Morocco and Spain, two neighbors with a stormy relationship? The Spanish press is concerned about this.

The CJEU considers that, insofar as these agreements included Western Sahara, Brussels and Rabat could not “ignore the Polisario Front,” regarded as “the legitimate representative” of the Sahrawi people by the European judges, reports the Spanish left-wing media InfoLibre.

A former Spanish colony in northwest Africa, Western Sahara is the subject of a bitter dispute between the Polisario and the Kingdom of Morocco, which claims sovereignty over the territory. According to the Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia, almost 90% of the catches made under the controversial fishing agreements have been made in “waters adjacent to the Sahara.”

“The ruling handed down on Wednesday [by the European court] is not so much a slap in the face for Rabat as for the European institutions as a whole. It is also a slap in the face for Spain and France, two states that defended before the European court the validity of the agreements approved by the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament,” adds 

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