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Moroccan Flag(left) EU Flag(Right)

Morocco and the European Union decided, on Wednesday, to take the necessary measures to ensure the legal framework to ensure the continuity and stability of trade relations between them, after the European Court of Justice canceled two trade agreements between them over the Sahara region.

This came according to a joint statement by Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

The two parties stressed that they “will take the necessary measures to ensure the legal framework that guarantees the continuity and stability of commercial relations between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the European Court of Justice issued a ruling canceling two trade decisions of the Council of the European Union, related to two agreements concluded by Morocco and the bloc on marine and agricultural fishing, covering the coasts and products of the Sahara region.

The decision follows complaints lodged by the Polisario Front against the two agreements, which include the coasts and products of the Sahara region, which has been disputed for decades between Rabat and the Front.

“We have taken note of the rulings issued today by the European Court of Justice… We will take the necessary measures to ensure the legal framework that secures the continuity and stability of trade relations between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco,” the statement said.

According to the statement, Borrell and Bourita “remain fully prepared to continue cooperating in an atmosphere of calm and commitment, in order to strengthen the Euro-Moroccan Partnership for Shared Prosperity, which was launched in June 2019”.

The European Court had said, in a statement today, that it “abolishes the decisions of the Council of the European Union, related to its agreement with Morocco to amend the customs preferences granted by the former to products of Moroccan origin, and the partnership agreement between them in the field of fisheries… based on a lawsuit submitted by the Polisario.”

According to the statement, the court’s decision will not enter into force until two months later.

On July 6, 2019, a new marine fishing agreement between Morocco and the European Union entered into force, after it was signed in Brussels (the capital of the Union), early that year.

On February 25, 2016, Morocco suspended contacts with the European Union, in response to a preliminary ruling of the European Court of Justice, in December 2015, to cancel the agreement on the exchange of agricultural and fisheries products between the two sides, for it included the products of the Sahara region.

In the following month, Rabat decided to resume contacts with Brussels after the Kingdom received assurances that things would be restored.

Morocco proposes expanded autonomy in the Sahara region under its sovereignty, while the “Polisario” calls for a referendum for self-determination, a proposal supported by Algeria, which hosts refugees from the region.

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