Polisario is probably feeling even more frustrated after the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries adopted the fisheries agreement by a large majority.
The separatist group’s news agency reported on January 21 that the “battle for the preservation of the Sahrawi natural resources will be a decisive factor of pressure” on Morocco.
Polisario had already contested the fisheries and agriculture agreement after describing the adoption of the agriculture deal as “illegal.”
The Polisario Front also claimed that the EU Parliament has violated EU Court of Justice’s ruling, which decided in February 2018 that the fisheries deal between the EU and Morocco would only be valid if it did not include Western Sahara and its waters.
The court also ruled on December 21, 2016, that the previous agreement between EU and Morocco, signed in 2012, on the mutual liberalization of the trade of agricultural and fishing products did not apply to the territory of Western Sahara.
Morocco, however, made its position clear that it would not sign an agreement if it excluded its southern provinces from the deals.
The Moroccan government says it will not compromise its sovereignty over the region.
The EU adopted the agriculture agreement on January 16, deeming the European court not to have authority over trade agreements.
A logical continuation of EU-Morocco relationship
After the adoption of the agriculture deal, the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries also adopted the fisheries agreement between Morocco and the EU today.
The agreement received 17 votes in favor of the fisheries deal while 7 voted against.
Polisario has long claimed that Morocco is “exploiting” natural resources in the regions. Local Sahrawis, however, petitioned against Polisario’s allegations, emphasizing the benefits of the agreement on the development of the region.
“The southern provinces are now ranked above the national average for human development indicators,” they wrote in the petition.
Morocco’s Minister of Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch said that the deals create 66,000 job opportunities in the southern provinces under the Moroccan Green Plan and the Halieutis plan.
In a statement to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), former Ambassador of Morocco to the EU Ahmed Reda Chami said that the vote of the committee “is a logical continuation of recent positive developments in the Morocco-EU partnership.”
The former EU official made his remarks today in Brussels.