The European Council of Ministers adopted the EU-Morocco Sustainable Fisheries Agreement on Monday.
Rabat – Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN Omar Hilale has informed the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and the Security Council of the adoption of the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement by the EU Council of Ministers.
Hilale conveyed that the adoption marks the “final stage of validation and ratification, on the European side, following the European Parliament’s adoption on February 12 in a plenary session in Strasbourg with the overwhelming majority of 415 votes in favor, 189 against and 49 absententions.”
In two letters to Guterres and the fifteen members of the Security Council, Hilale said that the agreement does not “concern the political process on the Sahara issue conducted under the exclusive auspices of the United Nations.”
Hilale brought to the UN’s attention that the agreement will “cover the Moroccan Sahara region and explicitly stipulate that the fishing zone extends from parallel 35 to the north, parallel 20 to the south, or Cape Spartel in Cap Blanc, south of the city of Dakhla.”
The fisheries agreement was adopted after a series of negotiations between the Moroccan government and the EU bodies.
Morocco now has to complete the “international ratification process” to finalize the adoption of the agreement.
According to the EU council, Morocco will spend part of the money it receives for the deal to promote the sustainable development of the fisheries economy in Morocco and its southern provinces.
The European Council reported that the deal takes into account the “judgement of the European Court of Justice of February 2018.” The court had ruled that the EU should not be allowed to make deals with Morocco including Western Sahara.
The EU council said, “It should be possible for Union fleets to continue the fishing activities they had pursued since the entry into force of the Agreement, and the scope of application of the Agreement should be defined so as to include the waters adjacent to the territory of Western Sahara.”
The council decided that the continuation of the fisheries partnership is “essential in order for that territory to continue to benefit from the sectoral support provided under the Agreement, in compliance with Union and international law, including human rights, and for the benefit of the people concerned.”