EU/Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement: fishing opportunities & financial contribution.
On December 10th, your parliament will settle on the new Fisheries Agreement between Morocco and the European Union.
The Kingdom of Morocco is the first and only Arab country to have an advanced status with Europe, a status that evolved with time into the creation of an extensive free trade zone, currently in negotiation.
Morocco, through the will of its people and its king, has initiated major reforms, a new constitution, free elections and a government chosen by the people in a particularly unstable Arab world.
The European Commission and Parliament support the reforms initiated by the Moroccan government in the areas of democratic and economic governance.
In this context, Morocco and the European Union (EU) concluded on Wednesday July 24th , a new fisheries agreement after six rounds of talks, which would allow more than one hundred vessels flying the flag of 11 European countries to fish in Moroccan waters. The total annual estimated financial contribution is of 40 million Euros, 14 million of which are dedicated to continuing the implementation of the fisheries scientist plan to strengthen the economies of national fisheries sector.
This agreement, fair and equitable to all parties, meets all the concerns of Euro-MPs and brings profound improvements that respond to a large extent to the requirements set by your Parliament in December 2011:
(a) Respect for democratic principles and fundamental rights and the possibility to suspend the application of the protocol in case of violations.
(b) It states that Morocco will provide regular and detailed reports on the use of the financial contribution, which will be allocated to support the sector over the entire Moroccan territory.
(c) Fishing opportunities have increased compared to the previous protocol, while the financial contribution of the European Union has diminished.
(d) The principle of sustainability is essential to fishing.
For these reasons, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament voted safely in favor of this agreement. Ms Carmen Fraga mentioned in her argument, before the members of the Commission, that this new protocol would restore fisheries relations with Morocco on a new basis, much better suited to the demands of Parliament, both from an economical and financial point of view, as well as in a sustainable social and environmental one.
Thus, the legal department of your Parliament, contrary to its decision in 2011, issued a favorable opinion this time explaining that the Agreement “complies with international rules and conventions” and that it is also perfectly legal and consistent with international law.
This refutes all allegations made by Polisario and Algeria, who are trying by all means to block any EU-Morocco agreement, under the excuse of defending the interests of the Saharawis. Unfortunately, these parties will be forced to note that the local population will be unable to benefit from any economic assistance if the European Parliament rejects the agreement.
On an international level, Polisario is not recognized as a “liberation movement” and even less as the “sole and legitimate representative” to Saharawi population. Polisario (supported by Algiers) therefore has no legal popular basis and no democratic legitimacy to speak on behalf of the Saharawi population.
We recall here that the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council announced that the Committee of Permanent Representatives of EU state members in Brussels (COREPER), recommends to the European Parliament to approve the new agreement.
The rapporteur of Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament, Carmen Fraga Estévez, also recommended the conclusion of this agreement, which, in her own words, “meets the criteria established by both the European Parliament and the European Council mandate.”
In addition, the agreement was approved by the budget Committee of the European Parliament and the Development Committee. All commissions have approved the agreement between Morocco and the European Union; it only needs the final approval of your Parliament in the plenary session of December 10th.
The professionals of fishery sector in southern Morocco and their Spanish colleagues are all optimistic and hope for a massive positive vote in the European Parliament on this Morocco-EU Fisheries Agreement.
Therefore, we hope sincerely that you vote in favor of this protocol.
Please accept, distinguished deputies, the expression of our highest consideration.
Moroccan Association of Entrepreneur Women of Laâyoune
Dar Attaliba –Laâyoune
Aicha Oum El Mouminin for social development and Charity
Women Forum for Development and Culture
Association of Sahrawi Women of Sea Fisheries in Laâyoune
Association Annaourasse of Sea Fisheries Laâyoune
Association Al Irchad
Association Farhana of Social Development
Association Al Ihtiram for Social Affairs
Assocciation Badr for Education and Culture
Association Al Mostakbal Sakia ElHamra
Association of Women for Social Initiative
Association of Initiative for the Development of Environment and Solidarity
Association Al Fikr and Culture
Association Al Mostakbal of Women and Environment in Laâyoune.