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Fisheries agreement : The European Commission creates a «human rights» clause

In order to renew the fisheries agreement, the European Commission wants to relaunch negotiations with Morocco. In a document, the EU body wants to include a human rights and democratic principles clause.

The European Commission./Ph. DR
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The European Commission has introduced a new clause in its decision, made on Wednesday (March 21st). It wants to relaunch negotiations with Morocco for the renewal of the 2014 fisheries agreement expected to expire on the 14th of July. Entitled «Fundamental Rights», the passage stresses that the violation of human rights and democratic principles can «lead to the suspension of the Agreement and Protocol».

The document read by Yabiladi did not refer to the area where these violations might take place. Nevertheless, Western Sahara is surely the area that interests the European Commission the most. Indeed, it is in the waters of the region that «the European Union’s vessels collect between 93 to 95 % of their goods», clarified Javier Garat, Secretary General of the Spanish Fishing Confederation, one day after the CJEU issued its recent ruling.

A reassuring clause for some parties

The European Commission’s document and clause in particular, sounds very vague. For instance, would dispersing a demonstration in Laayoune or Dakhla or the prohibition of a meeting for legetimate reasons lead to the «suspension» of the fisheries agreement ?

«The context created by the CJEU’s recent ruling has made MEPs and other NGOs pressure Brussels. It is logical that the European Commission is including this clause. It is intended to reassure other parties», said a source who requested anonymity.

«This clause is not to impact the future negotiations between Morocco and the European Union. The economic benefits of the agreement are obviously huge».

Moreover, it is precisely these «interests» that led the European Commission to announce the opening of these negotiations with the Kingdom one month after the CJEU announced its ruling.

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