Eric De Brabandere on EU and the Western Sahara issue
Morocco has suspended ties with the German government. According to Moroccan media, ministries and other government bodies have been asked in a letter to suspend all cooperation with the German embassy in Rabat.
Experts say that Morocco has taken this step to pressurise the EU into showing its colours on the issue of Western Sahara. Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975, but pro-independence movement Polisario – with support from Algeria – is claiming it as its own state. The issue came on the agenda last year when President Trump of the United States decided to recognise Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Although Germany has taken no concrete steps to dispute Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, Morocco is seizing the moment to underline its geostrategic importance for the EU, says Professor of International Dispute Eric de Brabandere in Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant. 'The EU has always been reluctant to recognise Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara since this would be inconsistent with the right of peoples to self-determination – after all, the Saharawi people have never been able to consent to partial control by Morocco after the departure of the Spanish. Although the pressure is considerable, I believe it is unlikely that the EU would abandon this principle.’