The E.U. General Court, a constituent court of the Court of Justice of the European Union, has invalidated a decision by the European Council to approve a deal to amend the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the E.U. and Morocco to include territory under the contested Western Sahara region.
The invalidation of the revised fish trade deal was the culmination of a 2019 suit filed in the court by Polisario Front, a rebel national liberation movement by the Sahrawi people claiming the Western Sahara – a region previously controlled by Spain and Mauritania – which argued consent of the population in the contested region had not been sought before the approval of a decision by both the E.U. and Morocco to amend the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement.
“The court takes the view that, in so far as the agreements at issue apply expressly to Western Sahara and, as regards the decision concerning the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement, to the waters adjacent to that territory, they concern the people of that territory and require the consent of its people,” the court ruled.
The court also determined the Polisario Front is directly concerned with the disputed decisions of the E.U. and Morocco as a representative of the people of Western Sahara, and as one of the parties engaged in the drive towards the self-determination process of the disputed territory.
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