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CJEU’s ruling : The vice-chairwoman of the Committee on Fisheries wants to negotiate with the Polisario

Linnéa Engström, the vice-chairwoman of the EU Committee on Fisheries, wants Brussels to negotiate directly with the Polisario. A year ago, the Swedish MEP adopted the same position, relaunched after the CJEU’s ruling.

Linnéa Engström, a Swedish MEP and vice-chairwoman of the committee on Fisheries./Ph. DR
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A new episode on the fisheries agreement concluded between Morocco and the European Union is making headlines again. Based on the Court of Justice of the European Union’s ruling issued February the 27th, «the senior vice-chairwoman of the committee on Fisheries in the European Parliament, Linnéa Engström, invited the Polisario’s lawyer, Gilles Devers», to start negotiations with the objective of concluding a fisheries agreement. The latter would allow «EU vessels to fish in the Western Sahara waters», a source told Yabiladi.

This step goes hand in hand with the call launched on the 1st of March by lawyer Devers. «We refuse to blackmail the 40 ship-owners, but if they want to carry on fishing, they have to negotiate it with the Polisario Front», he said at a press conference held in Brussels.

The Swedish MEP, who is also a Green Party politician, has also urged the European Union countries to withdraw their vessels fishing in the Sahara before the expiry of the agreement due to the 14th of July 2018.

Blocking negotiations

In fact, this is not the first time that Linnéa Engström adopts a similar position, going against the wish of the European committee and the majority within the European Parliament. In March 2017, she called on the European Union to launch direct negotiations with the Polisario, with the intention of developing a general fisheries resource management policy for the province. Meanwhile, she asked the separatist movement to «develop its general policy to manage the maritime resources that it seeks to control».

The MEP’s position complicates things for Morocco and the European Union. In addition to the 27 February ruling, the two parts will have to deal with Engström and other MEPs who back her suggestion.

For the record, in December 2011, MEPs rejected the renewal of the 2007 agreement. Their decision was based on the findings of a report conducted by Finnish MEP Carl Haglund. He claimed that the agreement would lead to «the overexploitation of some maritime species» in the Sahara, and that it is «illegal» since it «threatens the natural resources of the Western Sahara local population».

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