Leadership of European People’s Party disavows its youth on Sahara issue

The European People’s Party (EPP), the first political force in the European Parliament (EP), rejected on Monday (June 4) a document adopted by members of the party’s youth association on the Moroccan Sahara issue.

In a statement, the President and the Secretary General of the EPP, Joseph Daul and Antonio Lopez-Isturiz, distanced themselves from the resolution. The text, adopted by seven voices, demands the exclusion of Western Sahara from the EU-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, at the moment Morocco and the EU are holding the second round of negotiations for the renewal of their fisheries agreement.

The Youth of the European People’s Party (right and center-right) wanted to bring, in contradiction with the political line of the EPP, its support for the Polisario, which claims to be “the sole and legitimate representative” of the Sahrawi populations, a title that the European Union recently denied the separatists.

“We deplore the position adopted by the EPP youth, which, in no way, reflects that of the EPP. We shall ask for clarification on the adoption of a document that contradicts the party’s line,” said the two leaders of the EPP.

Joseph Daul and Antonio Lopez-Isturiz reiterated their party’s support for “a just, lasting and respectful solution for all stakeholders, in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions”.

At the same time, they reaffirmed that “Morocco is a reliable partner to guarantee security on both sides of the Mediterranean, to overcome the challenge of migration, to strengthen our trade exchanges or to fight together climate change”.

For his part, the president of the EPP youth association, Andrianos Giannou, said in a statement in Brussels, he also took his distance from the said resolution. He said the text will be completely reconsidered at the next YEPP Council meeting, according to the political line of the party and the efforts of the UN aimed at reaching a consensual political solution to the Sahara issue.

He also reiterated his long-standing support for a strong partnership between the EU and Morocco to address common challenges.

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