The Committee of Permanent Representatives votes in favor of the fisheries agreement

More than 20 NGOs and pro-Polisario bodies operating in the Sahara and the Tindouf camps urged the European Parliament, Tuesday, to vote against the fisheries agreement. On the same day in Brussels, the Committee of Permanent Representatives voted in favor of the treaty concluded between Morocco and European Commission.

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On Tuesday, November the 27th, the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union (COREPER) voted in favor of the fisheries agreement concluded between Morocco and the EU in July, 2018.

Fisheries Ministers from the European Union will have to adopt the same document at their meeting scheduled for the 17th and 18 of December. This was highlighted in the document submitted by the Council of the European Union on the signing, on behalf of the Union, of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco.

«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», indicates the same document.

Moreover, the text points out that «the Fisheries Agreement should be highly beneficial to the people concerned owing to the positive socio-economic impacts on those people, particularly in terms of employment and investment, and to its impact on the development of the fisheries sector and fish processing sector».

Complying with the CJEU ruling

The document adopted Tuesday by COREPER, referred to the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued on December and which excludes Western Sahara from the agreement. «In view of the considerations set out in the Court of Justice’s judgment, the Commission, together with the European External Action Service, took all reasonable and feasible measures in the current context to properly involve the people concerned in order to ascertain their consent».

It also indicated that the «extensive consultations were carried out in Western Sahara and in the Kingdom of Morocco, and the socio-economic and political actors who participated in the consultations were clearly in favor of concluding the Fisheries Agreement». The same document stressed that «the Polisario Front and some other parties did not accept to take part in the consultation process».

While the permanent representatives of the EU Member States have given the go ahead to the fisheries agreement, more than 90 NGOs and entities have urged the European Parliament in a letter to vote against the treaty.

The letter was signed by the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA) headed by Aminatou Haidar, and The Sahrawi Association of Victims of Grave Violations of Human Rights (ASVDH) Brahim Dahan.

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