MoroccoEU Relations Wont Be Affected by ECJ Ruling Official

Rabat – On Wednesday, Morocco’s ambassador to the European Union (EU), Ahmed Reda Chami, reaffirmed the importance of the strategic EU-Morocco partnership in light of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on the EU- Morocco fisheries deal.The Moroccan diplomat, was quoted by Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) saying that the court has confirmed the validity of the fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco, and “distanced itself from the political opinion of its advocate general [Melchior Wathelet].”On Tuesday, the ECJ confirmed the validity of the fisheries agreement, separating the court opinion from specific ECJ members, such as Advocate General Melchior Wathelet, based Luxembourg-based ECJ, who said that the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement should be declared null and void because it includes Western Sahara. Chami told the press that the ECJ has crushed the goal of Polisario and its supporters, who were previously appealing the EU agreement with Morocco.“The determination and willingness of both parties to move forward transcend anything that is likely to strain their longstanding partnership,” said Chami.The Moroccan diplomat added that the EU and Morocco maintain contact in a “climate of serenity and trust” to tailor their agreements to the rulings of the European Court of Justice.Chami echoed a statement made by Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita, who told Le360, “nothing in the [ECJ’s] verdict challenges the political legitimacy of Morocco to conclude agreements regarding the Moroccan Sahara with the EU.”Backing Bourita’s argument, Chami said that Morocco will not accept any agreement that does not involve its southern provinces.Underscoring the importance of the agreements between the two parties, Chami said that the EU and Morocco share a strong desire to strengthen their partnership.“Beyond the commercial aspect, the Morocco-EU partnership is reinforced by various agreements at different levels,” including police cooperation with Interpol, migration, crisis management in the Mediterranean, security issues, and the fight against terrorism and extremism.Chami, who is also the president of the Morocco-EU friendship group in the European Parliament told MAP, “it is with a serenity that we can approach the next trade negotiations between the EU and Morocco.”In a joint statement issued after the ruling of the ECJ on Tuesday, February 27, Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, and Bourita “took note of the verdict handed today by the EU Court of Justice” on the fisheries deal between the two parties andhave agreed to further reinforce their political dialogue and preserve the stability of their trade relations.Fishery ties between Morocco and the European Union date back to 1988. Negotiated four years ago, the fisheries agreement provides annual permits without restriction, according to the European Union. Since that time, partnerships between the two entities have expanded to involve protocols from different fields, including trade activities.Morocco Keen on Preserving its SovereigntyDuring the government council meeting today, Morocco’s Head of Government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, stressed that Morocco always strives to preserve its “sovereignty, unity, and belonging to its southern provinces,” in whatever agreement the country signed.Commenting on the ECJ’s ruling, El Othmani said that this matter is “being followed by King Mohammed VI personally.”El Othmani noted public interest in this topic, adding that he has been following the matter with the Ministries of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs.The Moroccan head of government emphasized that the EU and Morocco are determined to preserve their partnership and its future.El Othmani added that Morocco “is flexible in negotiation, cooperation, and partnership and is proud that its international relations are diverse and balanced.”

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