EU Challenges European Court on Trade Deal with Morocco
The European Union has decided to appeal the European ruling on EU-Morocco trade agreement as the North African country warned the decision could damage bilateral ties.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the EU will challenge the court’s decision and will endeavor to protect the global trade pact which lowered tariffs on Moroccan agricultural exports to the bloc.
The European Union’s “international commitments will be respected”, said Ms. Mogherini, underlining the importance of the EU’s ties with the North African country.
In last week judgment, the General Court partly upheld a challenge to the bilateral 2012 farm trade deal over Western Sahara. The court said the EU had not carried out its duties to ensure it considered all aspects of the trade deal, including its impact on the inhabitants of Western Sahara.
The court’s ruling has irked Morocco and EU. It has raised serious concerns over EU-Morocco trade deals and shed doubts on current talks for a new, deeper commercial pact between the two sides.
At a news conference in Brussels, Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar called on the European Union to move quickly to fix the problem to preserve partnership between Morocco and EU.
“This is a dangerous precedent. It is not useful to a relationship which has been built up step by step with determination for more than 20 years”, he said.
The 2012 trade deal lowered tariffs on dozens of Moroccan agricultural exports to the EU in exchange for scrapping of tariffs on some European exports to the North African countries.
The agreement was part of EU efforts to encourage democratic reforms in the region following the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011.The EU has extensive ties with Morocco on trade, political and security matters. Morocco plays a key role in the fight against terrorism and has helped France identify and locate the mastermind the Paris terror attacks last month.
The North African country also helps Spain, Belgium, Italy and other countries in the fight against terror cells and extremist groups threatening European security.