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      The EU’s duty of non-recognition and the territorial scope of trade agreements covering unlawfully acquired territories

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          Recently, the international legality of the EU’s economic activity in unlawfully acquired territories has gained much salience. Claims are increasingly heard that the duty of non-recognition requires the inapplicability of trade agreements to unlawfully acquired territories. In this light, this article attempts a survey of the relevant EU practice by focusing on the case-studies of Palestine and Western Sahara. The main question examined here is whether the EU has acted in breach of its obligation of non-recognition by concluding agreements with third States that extend to unlawfully acquired territories. Overall, this article argues that there is a growing gap between EU identity rhetoric as a promoter of international law and its actual practice on the ground.

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          EU extraterritorial obligations with respect to trade with occupied territories: Reflections after the case of Front Polisario before EU courts

           Cedric Ryngaert (corresponding) ,  Rutger Fransen (2018)
          This paper provides a critical analysis of the recent judgments of the General Court of the EU and the Court of Justice of the EU in the case of Front Polisario v Council , which concerned the application of the EU-Morocco Liberalisation Agreement to products from Western Sahara. The central argument is that both EU courts failed to adequately consider the nature of the Moroccan presence on Western Saharan territory: a belligerent occupation. In light of this occupation, the courts should have channelled the EU’s extraterritorial obligations vis-à-vis the population of Western Sahara through the tailor-made regimes of the law of occupation and the international duty of non-recognition. It is argued that the application of the Liberalisation Agreement may notably run afoul of the EU’s duty of non-recognition, but that the Agreement may still apply insofar as it benefits the local population. More fundamentally, after Front Polisario , the EU may want to reconsider all trade relations in respect of occupied territories by distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate products.

            Author and article information

            Europe and the World: A law review
            Eur. World
            UCL Press
            26 June 2019
            : 3
            : 1
            Senior Researcher in EU and International Law, Academic coordinator of CLEER, TMC Asser Instituut, the Netherlands
            Author notes
            © 2019, Eva Kassoti.

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI:

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            Pages: 18
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            E. Kassoti, ‘The EU’s duty of non-recognition and the territorial scope of trade agreements covering unlawfully acquired territories’ [2019] 3(1): 5. Europe and the World: A law review [18]. DOI:


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