“Morocco and the European Union have a broad and solid partnership enhanced by the advanced status that the North African country has with the European bloc”, said Thursday European Union foreign affairs Chief Federica Mogherini.
“The EU took note of the ruling of the EU Court regarding the decision of the EU Council on the agricultural agreement between the EU and Morocco”, added Mogherini in a press release.
“The European institutions are currently considering the verdict carefully to set various options, including preparatory work to appeal”, stressed the EU top diplomat.
“The EU considers that the bilateral agreements are not jeopardized. It confirms its commitment to the partnership with Morocco, a key partner in the Southern Neighbourhood”, underlined Ms Mogherini who discussed the issue with her Moroccan counterpart Salaheddine Mezouar. They agreed to meet for further talks in Rome this weekend.
The EU, which has over two months to appeal the ruling, will hold pre-planned talks with Morocco on Monday which include negotiations, launched in 2013, on a deeper and broader partnership.
Moroccan authorities were surprised and irked by the European Court decision, while some reports say Rabat reserves the right to review all partnerships with the EU, including the Association Agreement.
In its partnership with the EU, Morocco says it abides by international law and it is now up to European countries to show leadership, wisdom and a unified and consistent course of action.
The European Court ruled on Thursday that the EU Council Union did not check whether the inhabitants of Saharan provinces benefit from exploitation of natural resources of Western Sahara.
“We are examining the ruling carefully. We need to do that in order to consider carefully how to proceed further, including on the possibility of an appeal,” said a spokeswoman for the European Commission.
According to some experts, the European court judgment will not have an immediate impact on trade between the two sides worth over $ 32 billion last year.