Morocco has taken its time before its Council of Ministers adopted the fisheries agreement

Unlike what happened in 2014, Morocco took its time before the Council of Ministers, chaired Tuesday by King Mohammed VI, adopted the fisheries agreement signed with the European Union.

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After four long months of waiting, the Council of Ministers convened Tuesday, June 4, adopted the fisheries agreement signed by Morocco and the European Union (EU) and which includes the Sahara’s waters.

The text was first adopted on February 12 in a plenary session held at the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, with 415 votes in favor, 189 against and 49 abstentions out of 653 members present in plenary,

EU shipowners, especially those from Spain, will have to wait again before joining the Moroccan territorial waters. Indeed, the Moroccan parliament must examine the agreement concluded between the two parties. Moroccan MPs will certainly be adopting the agreement in the upcoming weeks.

Spain, which is the main EU country that benefits form the agreement sending 92 trawlers to the Kingdom’s waters, sees the adoption of the deal as a positive step. Speaking to EFE, the Secretary-General of the Spanish Fishing Confederation (FIS) Javier Garat hoped that the Spanish fleet will be able to return to Morocco’s Atlantic waters «by the end of June».

Unlike 2014, Morocco has taken its time before adopting the agreement

The official revealed that once the agreement is approved by the Moroccan parliament, a joint commission will be set up to «examine the technical issues» and resolve them before European boats join the Moroccan territorial waters.

It is clear that the Kingdom took its time before the Council of Ministers, chaired Tuesday by King Mohammed VI, approved the fisheries agreement. Thus, Rabat did not yield to the requests of Madrid, which urged the Kingdom to speed up the adoption procedure.

For the record, on the sidelines of the 5th edition of Salon Halieutis, held in February in Agadir, the Spanish Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Luis Planas asked his Moroccan counterpart Aziz Akhannouch to «speed up the ratification of the agreement».

On February 10, 2014, the Moroccan parliament unanimously ratified the fisheries agreement exactly two months after MEPs voted in favor of it.

This year, Morocco is taking its time as a response to the many obstacles faced by the adoption of the project in the European Parliament. This was noticed by Garat who said that the examination of the agreement was «special (...) and was unusually late». «Including the Western Sahara waters to the agreement created controversy between MEPs», he told EFE.

For the record, the Polisario sought, in April, the Court of Justice of the European Union to annul the fisheries agreement between Morocco and the EU, which includes the waters of the Sahara.

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