Agricultural agreement : A French MEP resigns over a possible conflict of interest with Morocco

A few hours before the EU Committee on International Trade adopted the agricultural agreement signed with Morocco, French MEP Patricia Lalonde left office. The latter was accused of allegedly having a possible conflict of interest with the country.

French MEP Patricia Lalonde./Ph. DR
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The European Parliament's Committee on International Trade adopted on Monday, December the 10th, by an overwhelming majority, the agricultural agreement between Morocco and the European Union. 25 MPs voted in favor of the treaty while 9 others voted against it.

This vote comes only three weeks after, the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) adopted, November in Brussels, by a large majority, the same agreement (44 MPs for and 17 against it).

However, this victory comes in a tensioned atmosphere. Indeed, MEPs belonging to the European Green Party and left-wing groups in the European Parliament boycotted the voting operation. They protested against the fact that MEP Patricia Lalonde is allegedly working in «collusion» with Morocco.

On November the 23rd, European online newspaper Euobserver published an investigation revealing the alleged links between the French MEP and the Kingdom of Morocco. But MEPs’ anger in the European Parliament dates back to when Lalonde issued a report on a mission carried out by other members of the Committee on International Trade on the 3rd and 4th of September in Laayoune and in Dakhla.

Conflict of Interest

In her report the MEP said she is interested in creating a mechanism to improve the traceability of products coming from Western Sahara, adding that «the local population will profit from economic development and the spill-over effects created in terms of investment in infrastructure, health and education».

The campaign launched against the MEP and the vote that took place yesterday was initiated by Podemos. In a letter sent to the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, on December the 7th, the Spanish left-wing populist party urged the EU body to strip Patricia Lalonde from the right of drafting the mission’s reports.

The Podemos’ request was based on the idea of a possible «conflict of interest» between Lalonde and Morocco. Indeed, reports suggest that Lalonde did not inform the European Union about the fact that she is a member of the board of directors of a foundation close to Morocco.

A few hours before the vote started on Monday, December the 10th, Patricia Lalonde resigned her post as lead MEP on the EU association agreement with Morocco, said Euobserver.

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