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14.12.2011

EU-Morocco fisheries agreement/Western Sahara

EP rejects shameful agreement; Commission must go back to drawing board

The European Parliament today voted not to give its consent to a controversial EU-Morocco fisheries agreement (1). The Greens warmly welcomed the outcome of the vote and called on the Commission to come forward with a revised proposal under which the waters of Western Sahara are excluded from the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement. After the vote, Green fisheries spokesperson Raül Romeva said:

"Today's vote to reject the controversial EU-Morocco fisheries deal sends a strong message that the EP will not accept any deal that ignores the rights of the people of Western Sahara and is in conflict with international law. The European Commission must now go back to the drawing board. Any future EU-Morocco fisheries agreement must exclude Western Saharan waters, over which the Moroccan government has no rights. This agreement is a shameful stain on EU foreign policy and it is time it was consigned to the past."

(1) The EU Commission is seeking to renew the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement, which would again give the EU the right to fish in Western Saharan waters despite the fact the government of Morocco has no right to sell the resources of the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara under international law. With the previous agreement having expired in February this year, the Commission has proposed a temporary extension. This was today rejected by the EP. The Commission will now have to come forward with a proposal for a new agreement.