Morocco. A dispute between Morocco and the UN arose in
March since UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon during a visit
to a Western Saharan refugee camp in Algeria called
Morocco's presence in Western Sahara for an occupation.
statement prompted Morocco to expel some 80 civilian members
of the peacekeeping UN force MINURSO, and in the capital
Rabat demonstrated tens of thousands of Moroccans in protest
against Ban Ki Moon's position, as perceived, in the Western
In May, Morocco and Sweden signed an agreement on the
Moroccan children who live on the streets of Swedish
metropolitan areas and who want Sweden to be able to return
to Morocco. About 800 North African street children, mainly
from Morocco, were reported to be in Sweden the same month.
Parliament decided in July to raise the retirement age
for civil servants from 60 to 63 years. The reform would be
introduced gradually from 2017.
The same month, 52 people were arrested on suspicion of
establishing a Moroccan branch of the Islamic State (IS) in
Morocco. According to authorities, 38 suspected cells with
ties to IS had been blown up in the country since 2013.
In August, Morocco's King Muhammad VI urged exiled
Moroccans to stand up for a tolerant form of Islam and
distance itself from extremism. People of Moroccan origin
have been involved in several acts of terrorism in Europe in
recent years, such as the murder of a priest in a church in
France in late July.
In a press release in September, the European Court of
Justice in Luxembourg ruled that Western Sahara is not part
of Morocco and therefore food from the country cannot be
covered by trade agreements between the EU and Morocco. The
announcement was a final judgment proposal after the Court
examined an agriculture and fisheries agreement that the EU
signed with Morocco in 2012. The case was raised by the
Western Saharian independence movement Polisario and raised
in a lower court in the same court last year. At that time,
the court's decision was to annul the trade agreement, a
judgment appealed by the EU countries.
In the parliamentary elections held in October, the
moderate Islamist party remained PJD (Justice and
Development Party), the country's largest party. PJD's main
challenger, the liberal secular party PAM (Party for
Authenticity and Modernity), received 102 seats. This was a
big increase compared to the last election when PAM got 47.
The Conservative Party Istiqlal (Independence Party) was
moved down to a third place with its 46 seats.
In November, Morocco hosted the International Climate
Summit, held in Marrakech.