PUSL – [BRUSSELS, JANUARY 23] The European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee approved today the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement which includes the maritime area of Western Sahara. The Commission in no way respects the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of February 2018, in which it is explicit that such an agreement could not be applied to Western Sahara. The agreement was approved with 17 votes in favor, 7 against and 2 abstentions.
Parliament’s Plenary (all MEPs) will have to make the final vote on 13 February.
Following the disastrous vote on the EU / Morocco trade agreement, which also violates the CJEU rulings, there seems to be no intention of European politicians to respect international law or it’s own court.
Mohamed Sidati, the European Representative of the Polisario Front commented on this vote:
“It is with sadness and disappointment that we have seen the Committee on Fisheries decide to support a course of decision in the European Parliament which is in direct violation of the sovereignty of the Saharawi people over its own natural resources. The European Parliament is actively defying the European Court of Justice and undermining the EU’s own legal mechanism.
… What matters for the Polisario is the needs and rights of the Sahrawi people. And what is clear is the European Parliament is supporting a trade deal that simply does not have the consent of the Saharwi people. Instead the EU is supporting a trade deal that only benefits Rabat and Moroccan and European cronies.”
The Polisario Front has already announced that it will continue legal action and will take back the now approved agreement to Court.
“We will contest the latest EU-Morocco trade deal, including the protocol on fish. We put our trust into the CJEU in once again ruling in favor of international law. This is in stark contrast to EU institutions being dictated by political interests, instead of transparency, justice and respect for international law. All of this means wasting time and effort, where instead our focus and that of the EU’s should be on creating the conditions for a viable political process.”
Recent efforts to restart and energize the dialogue between the two parties to the conflict and the possibility of a political solution, with the holding of the referendum postponed and prevented by Maroccos since the 1991 ceasefire, are not being taken into account by the EU in the opinion of Sidati:
“Let me be clear, the EU is currently undertaking a direct course of action that undermines the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy to Western Sahara, Mr Horst Kohler, and his efforts towards securing a peaceful and lasting solution to the Western Sahara conflict.
…The consequences will likely be an ongoing conflict with no end in sight, with direct impact in terms of stability, security and migration in Europe’s Southern Neighbourhood.”