EU confirms absence of negotiations on renewal of fisheries agreement with Morocco extended to Western Sahara – The European Commission confirmed on Tuesday that there would be no negotiations to renew the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement, illegally extended to occupied Western Sahara, before a ruling by the European Court of Justice (CJEU), whose verdict is expected at the end of the year, Europa Press reported.
In September 2021, the Court of the European Union ruled in favour of the Polisario Front, which maintained that the fisheries agreement with Morocco had been concluded without the consent of the people of Western Sahara.
The Council of the EU lodged an appeal on 16 December of the same year.
According to European Union (EU) sources quoted by the agency, there are currently no negotiations between the EU-27 and Morocco concerning the fisheries agreement, whose current protocol expires on 17 July.
Statements to the effect that it is impossible to extend the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement, which has been illegally extended to Western Sahara, continue to multiply.
In a letter relayed in May by the international observatory Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW), the Dutch Minister of Agriculture indicated that the European Commission had ruled out any extension of the fisheries agreement between Morocco and the EU.
In this letter, dated 28 March 2023 and discussing the issue with the Dutch Parliament, the Minister referred to information from the European Commission, which had concluded that it would not enter into negotiations with Morocco to extend the agreement.
And last March, the European Commissioner for Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, invited EU countries to examine ways of opening up new fishing opportunities within the EU/Mauritania agreement, given that it might be “impossible to avoid an interruption” of fishing activities by EU vessels in the waters of occupied Western Sahara.
As a reminder, the current agreement between the Twenty-Seven and the Kingdom of Morocco came into force on 18 July 2019, and allows 128 EU vessels to illegally dispatch to the waters of occupied Western Sahara, after a suspension of the fleet’s activity since 14 July 2018.
Pending the decision of the CJEU, the application of the current protocol can continue until it expires on 17 July, which, in the absence of a new agreement and therefore a legal framework allowing Morocco to issue fishing licences to EU vessels, will lead to a suspension of the fleet’s activity.
EU confirms absence of negotiations on renewal of fisheries agreement with Morocco extended to Western Sahara