Jean-Louis Borloo is hopeful the recent US decision will influence France and other countries in the European Union.
Rabat – French politician Jean-Louis Borloo believes the EU should follow in the footsteps of the US and recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Speaking to Morocco’s state media, Borloo, a former member of the European Parliament, said the EU should proceed “according to the same path” as the US in order to permanently close the Western Sahara file.
“The European Union must understand that Morocco is not only a distinguished partner, but a very vital partner in relations between Europe and Africa,” he added, emphasizing the strategic importance of strong ties with Rabat.
He expressed his hope that the US decision will have “an impact” on France and other countries in the European Union.
US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara is the culmination of “a complete path for the Moroccan people, King Mohammed VI, and his father, the late King Hassan II,” Borloo continued.
US President Donald Trump’s presidential proclamation is a game-changer, he said, adding that it will have positive impacts on the region. As part of its recognition of Moroccan sovereignty, the US will open a consulate general in the Western Saharan city of Dakhla and encourage economic development in the region.
Economic development in Western Sahara
“This region is extremely promising in terms of economic development, and this completely changes the situation,” Borloo said.
“[The US decision] justifies the King’s vision regarding investments, especially the port of Dakhla, then making this region an energy pole for part of the Sahel countries and beyond, the first renewable energy center in the world.”
“For the inhabitants, the entire population of this region, I think it is wonderful,” he said.“Next week, we plan to make a series of announcements that will strengthen the US-Morocco strategic partnership in economic development and trade, while also enhancing Morocco’s role as a regional economic leader,” he continued.
Morocco’s Western Sahara region is teeming with phosphates and boasts rich Atlantic fishing waters, making it a prime destination for Moroccan and foreign investment.
At a press conference last week on Trump’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty, the US Ambassador to Morocco, David Fischer, said the United States will encourage investment and development projects in Western Sahara that bring “tangible benefits” to the region’s residents.
American startup Soluna Technologies and Moroccan company AM WIND have already announced plans for a $2.5 billion 900-megawatt wind park in Dakhla. They expect construction to take around six years to complete.
King Mohammed VI’s vision for Morocco places heavy emphasis on the development of the southern provinces. During his Green March anniversary speech on November 7, the King said he hopes to see the southern provinces transform into “an engine of development at the regional and continental levels.”
In line with this vision is the Dakhla Atlantic Port, one of the major projects on Morocco’s 2016-2021 roadmap for development in the south. Technical studies for the port are complete and the preselection process of the call for tenders for construction is now open. The port will require an investment of $1.1 billion and is expected to become operational in less than six years.