Morocco and the Western Sahara

Challenge

Kingdom of Morocco
Kingdom of Morocco
The EU-Morocco trade negotiations were about collapse. Our client, the Kingdom of Morocco was in an unpalatable position, propagated by EU outrage regarding Western Sahara. Morocco was regarded as an occupier of the region, that was illegitimately using the natural resources of the invaded territory, to the detriment of the Saharawi people. Several Members States and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) demanded that, the EU bring an end to the Agriculture Agreement, and the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco. The resolution on the “Situation in the Western Sahara,” consequently condemned the actions of the Kingdom of Morocco. Protecting the interests of Morocco required us to tackle a heavy burden of proof amid these string convictions within the EU institutions and Member States.

Strategy

Valuable EU support and advise.
H.E. Menouar Alem- Ambassador to the EU, Kingdom of Morocco
Our strategy combined economic, legal and political narratives. Pragmatically, it demonstrated how crucial from an economic standpoint the Agricultural Agreement and Fisheries Partnership were to the EU internal market. It emphasized the tangible value of such agreements to the Saharawi people, while simultaneously showing the intangible nature of the accusations against Morocco. To do so it articulated the legality of Morocco actions through public international law discourse.

The EU-Morocco relationship is a ‘success-story’ in the region.
Stefan Füle- Former EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy
It drew on specific Member State and organizational interests in the fishing and agricultural sector while simultaneously recruiting these interests into a targeted media campaign. It assimilated an overarching sentiment that such stabilizing agreements were needed, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. It drifted EU institutional thought processes along their own rational that trade must follow the rule of law. However, it did so by flipping the script, in showing the potential these agreements had for strengthening regional stability and international adherence to the law.

Results

ag-wins-map-moroccoAlber & Geiger was able to facilitate the signing of a new protocol, guiding the Morocco-EU relationship into a new and more dynamic framework. Creating a stable platform for long term sustainable trade relations that are vital to the security of the region. It was our ability to navigated the EU’s multifaceted foreign policy that allowed us to ensure this result for Morocco.