The EU Council says that renewing the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement is essential for Western Sahara to continue receiving the deal’s support.
Rabat – The European Council has decided that the scope of the fisheries deal between Morocco-EU “should be defined so as to include the waters adjacent to the territory of Western Sahara” in southern Morocco.
On November 27, the Brussels-based council shared a document to announce its decision on the fisheries deal. The council also recalled that it had authorized the EU Commission to start “negotiations with the Kingdom of Morocco with a view to amending the Agreement agreeing on a new Implementation protocol.”
The decision of the EU and its council brushed aside Polisario’s repeated claims that Morocco exploits the natural resources of Western Sahara. In July, the EU and Morocco agreed to renew their fisheries agreement, which expired on June 14.
The council said that the agreement aims to enable the two partners “to work together more closely on promoting a sustainable fisheries policy.” It also seeks to promote the fisheries sector and a blue economy.
The council added that the fisheries deal should benefit the people concerned, “owing to the positive-economic impacts on those people, particularly in terms of employment and investment.”
The council also decided that the agreement has a positive impact on the development of the fisheries sector and fish processing sector because the fishing activities are in line with the “best scientific advice and recommendations.”
The council also said that “extensive consultations” took place in Western Sahara and in Morocco with the attendance of socio-economic and political actors who were “clearly in favor of concluding the Fisheries Agreement.”
The council also reaffirmed its support for the UN-led political process in the face of claims by the Polisario that the EU is siding with Morocco’s position.
The agreement added that “it should be possible for Union fleets to continue the fishing activities they had pursued since the entry into force of the Agreement.”
It also stressed that the renewal of the agreement is “essential in order for that territory to continue to benefit from the sectoral support provided under the Agreement.”
Morocco and the EU are also set to renew their agriculture agreement. On November 21, the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) adopted the Morocco-EU agriculture deal. For Morocco, the vote reflects the positive position of political groups that represent the commission and the EU Parliament.