Home Highlights on Morocco France Observatory of Geopolitical Studies Denounces Wathelet’s Opinion on EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement

France Observatory of Geopolitical Studies Denounces Wathelet’s Opinion on EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement

Legal Experts Warn ECJ not to Involve Political Dimension in EU-Morocco Fisheries Case

Rabat – France’s Observatory of Geopolitical Studies (OEG)  released a statement on Thursday, denouncing the legal opinion issued by the European Union Court of Justice’s Advocate General Melchior Wathelet in which he claimed that fisheries agreement concluded between EU and Morocco was “invalid.”

While Wathelet said that the fisheries agreement concluded between the EU and Morocco is “invalid, ” OEG believes that the legal advisor is not aware of the historical context of the Western Sahara.  

“At no time, Wathelet examines the historical context of the decolonization of the formerly non-autonomous territory and he does not attach himself to the present legal status of the territory,” said the statement issued by Charles Saint-Prot, a French geopolitician and director of the OEG.

For OEG, the EU’s legal advisor used his own reading of the political context and has neglected economic development in Morocco’s Southern provinces that benefit the region’s local people, which is an essential element.

Wathelet’s opinions, thus, are incompatible with the strategic stake that represents the future of relations between Morocco and the EU, according to the statement.

The French body added that the court can discuss an international law only with circumspection, and  “It would be justified to refrain from any interpretation of international law.”

The observatory added that the European Court of Justice ECJ)  has no universal jurisdiction. “ It is notable that Wathelet’s conclusions and the possible preliminary  ruling of the court will have no effect on [ the fisheries agreements between the EU and Morocco] in the short terms.”

OEG added that Wathelet’s opinion came just a few days after the EU and Morocco’s announcement to renew the fisheries agreements. The OEG said that his legal opinion will not be considered immediately as it “ignores or avoids several objections based on international laws.”

The Observatory of Geopolitical Studies said that the European Council believes that ECJ does not have the competences to rule on the validity of the fisheries agreement: negotiated, ratified, and entered into force between the parties. “The agreement in question is not purely and simply an act of the institutions of the Union.”

The statement added that international law has, in theory, a limited number of causes of the nullity of a treaty and in practice the invalidity of a treaty has rarely been found.  These conclusions for the OEG came due to “international law’s system sources and the lack of a hierarchy of norms in the international order, which has been invoked with caution and never to invalidate a treaty.”

OEG added that Wathelet gives priority to the EU treaties and the ensuing constitutional principles resulting therefrom the international treaty, which for Morocco has been properly ratified.


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