Reference for a preliminary ruling from High Court of Justice (England & Wales), Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court) made on 13 May 2016 – Western Sahara Campaign UK v Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

(Case C-266/16)

Language of the case: English

Referring court

High Court of Justice (England & Wales), Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)

Parties to the main proceedings

Applicant: Western Sahara Campaign UK

Defendants: Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Questions referred

In the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, on the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, on the other part (OJ 1170/2 18 March 2000) ("the Association Agreement"), approved, by Commission and Council Decision 2000/204/EC1 , ECSC, do the references to "Morocco" in Articles 9, 17 and 94 and Protocol 4 refer only to the sovereign territory of Morocco as recognised by the United Nations and the European Union ("EU") and therefore preclude products originating in Western Sahara from being imported into the EU free of customs duties pursuant to the Association Agreement?

If products originating in Western Sahara may be imported into the EU free of customs duties pursuant to the Association Agreement, is the Association Agreement valid, having regard to the requirement under Article 3(5) of the Treaty on European Union to contribute to the observance of any relevant principle of international law and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and the extent to which the Association Agreement was concluded for the benefit of the Saharawi people, on their behalf, in accordance with their wishes and/or in consultation with their recognised representatives.

Is the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Kingdom of Morocco (as approved and implemented by Council Regulation 764/20062 , Council Decision 2013/785/EU3 , and Council Regulation 1270/20134 ) valid, having regard to the requirement under Article 3(5) of the Treaty on European Union to contribute to the observance of any relevant principle of international law and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and the extent to which the Fisheries Partnership Agreement was concluded for the benefit of the Saharawi people, on their behalf, in accordance with their wishes, and/or in consultation with their recognised representatives.

Is the Claimant entitled to challenge the validity of EU acts based on alleged breach of international law by the EU, having regard, in particular, to:

the fact that, although the Claimant has standing under national law to impugn the validity of the EU acts, it does not assert any rights under EU law; and/or

the principle in Case of the Monetary Gold Removed from Rome in 1943 (lCJ Reports 1954) that the International Court of Justice may not make findings that impugn the conduct of, or affect the rights of, a State that is not before the Court and has not consented to be bound by the decisions of the Court.

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1 2000/204/EC, ECSC: Council and Commission Decision of 24 January 2000 on the conclusion of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

OJ L 70, p. 1

2 Council Regulation (EC) No 764/2006 of 22 May 2006 on the conclusion of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco

OJ L 141, p. 1

3 2013/785/EU: Council Decision of 16 December 2013 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco

OJ L 349, p. 1

4 Council Regulation (EU) No 1270/2013 of 15 November 2013 on the allocation of fishing opportunities under the Protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco

OJ L 328, p. 40