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The European Union Approach Towards Western Sahara


Edited By Marco Balboni and Giuliana Laschi

In the framework of the so-called Barcelona process, the European Union concluded several bilateral agreements with Morocco aimed to deepen their economic integration. The 2000 Association agreement European Union–Morocco is the general legal framework for the development of relationships among the two parties. In this context, the recent Agreement on reciprocal liberalisation measures on agricultural products and fishery products, entered in force in 2012, and the Fisheries Partnership Agreement, issued in 2013, were established. They reiterate and update former agreements. No one of them expressly excludes the territory of Western Sahara from the scope of application, in contrast with other similar agreements negotiated with other countries, such as the Free trade pact between Morocco and the United States of America. The non-exclusion of the territory of Western Sahara raises several concerns on the compliance of these agreements with International Law, not only in relation to the principle of self-determination of peoples but also with the principle of sovereignty of natural resources, the prohibition of exploitation of resources of a territory under occupation, the obligation to not recognise situations arisen in an illegal way, the prohibition to negotiate agreement with an occupying country once the process of decolonisation has begun.

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Biographical notes


Marco Balboni is Professor at the School of Political Science, University of Bologna – Forlì. His main research interests include: the role of the EU in promoting the principles of the rule of law in the international arena; international refugee law and EU immigration law; international and EU non-discrimination law; the role of the domestic courts in the implementation of EU law. Among others, he is a member of the scientific board of the legal academic review Diritto, Immigrazione e Cittadinanza and of the PhD Commission on EU Law – University of Bologna. Finally, he has been responsible for the University of Bologna of the Italian National Focal Point of the EU Agency on Fundamental Rights (Wien).

Hans Corell was Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations between March 1994 and March 2004. He was head of the Office of Legal Affairs in the United Nations Secretariat. Before joining the United Nations in 1994, Corell was an Ambassador and Under-Secretary for Legal and Consular Affairs in the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Hans Corell graduated with a Master of Laws at Uppsala University. He was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University from 2006-2012.

Francesco Correale, historian and Ingénieur de recherche on the analysis of the sources at the CNRS – UMR 7324 CITERES (CNRS / A. F. Rabelais, Tours –, he analyzed the history of...

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