Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission
The Western Sahara issue is being handled in the UN framework under the responsibility of the Secretary General. The EU does not play a role in the mediation efforts and the Council has on repeated occasions underlined its full support for UN efforts. Morocco is de facto exerting its authority over Western Sahara.
As regards economic activity conducted in Western Sahara by third parties, such as the companies cited by the Honourable Members, this is not per se illegal. However, such activity would be illegal under international law if conducted in ‘disregard of the interests and wishes’ of the people of the Western Sahara.
The EU regularly raises the issue of Western Sahara in its dialogue with the Moroccan authorities.