If tomorrow's meeting demonstrates that a clear majority of Member States will vote for the proposed Protocol, the decision to sign the EU-Morocco Fisheries Protocol will be formalised at the next Council meeting of the EU Fisheries Ministers, presumably mid-November.
Several countries have already announced that they do not favour the Commission’s proposed Protocol, as the deal opens for fishing in the waters of Western Sahara – a Non-Self Governing Territory that is largely occupied by Morocco in blatant violation of international law.
Sweden and Denmark make no secret of their opposition, and several other countries are said to contemplate abstention.
But observers say that it is once again Germany that will determine the outcome.
In 2011, when the European Commission proposed a one-year extension of the previous EU-Morocco Fisheries Protocol, Germany ended up voting in favour in the very last minute, after having voiced its concerns on the deal in the months prior to the vote. Germany’s sudden change of mind led to a qualified majority in Council for the suggested extension, which was later voted down in the European Parliament.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.