EU to Open Talks with Morocco on New Fisheries Deal Including Sahara

The Council of the European Union has given its green light to the European Commission to open negotiations with Morocco on new fisheries agreement, which includes the Moroccan Sahara.

The current 4-year accord sealed with the North African Kingdom will expire on 14 July 2018. The EU decision to open talks for the renewal for the fisheries accord deals a hard blow to the enemies of Morocco’s territorial integrity.

The Moroccan government welcomed the decision of the Council of Europe to greenlight negotiations with Morocco on a new fisheries agreement including the Moroccan Sahara, noting with satisfaction the EU’s coherent approach, in accordance with its internal rules and international legality.

“The adoption of this decision, with the general support of the EU and its member states, unequivocally confirms the legality of the inclusion of the Moroccan Sahara in international agreements concluded, particularly with the EU,” a governmental source told the news portal le360.

The decision “also strengthens the Kingdom as a unique and legitimate interlocutor able to conclude international agreements covering the southern provinces,” the source said.

About 120 vessels from 11 EU countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, The Netherlands, Ireland, Poland and United Kingdom) are operating in Morocco’s waters.

Both the EU and Morocco benefit from the fisheries agreement. According to an independent study, the deal not only promotes sustainable development of the fisheries sector through Halieutis strategy projects but also facilitates jobs for Moroccan sailors and fishermen via 1000 boarding contracts per year.

Moreover, over 75 pc of the socio-economic benefits of the agreement, such as creation of hundreds of new jobs and improvement of working conditions of tens of thousands of people, are enjoyed by people living in the Southern provinces.

Similarly, the gains of the 11 EU countries operating in Moroccan waters largely exceed the €30m EU investment for the support of Moroccan sectoral fisheries policy. In effect, every Euro invested created €2.78 value added for the EU.

Morocco’s enemies and their lobbyists tried in vain to block the renewal of the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement through the European Court of Justice, claiming it “violates the rights of people from Western Sahara.”

But the plotters failed in their desperate attempts to undermine the strategic partnership and strong alliance existing between Rabat and Brussels in all sectors.

The EU has extensive ties with Morocco in trade, political and security matters. Morocco plays a key role in the fight against terrorism and has helped France, Spain, Belgium, Italy and other European countries in the fight against terror cells and extremist groups threatening European security.

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