European Parliament disregards Court and adopts Morocco fish deal
Notwithstanding four consecutive rulings of the EU's highest Court calling such a practice illegal, the European Parliament has just now voted in favour of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement that will be applied to the waters of occupied Western Sahara.
Photo: French christian-democrat Alain Cadec, leading MEP on the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement, spurring on fellow MEPs to vote in favour of the controversial deal.
In the early afternoon of 12 February, the European Parliament gave its consent to a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) with Morocco - one that will be carried out primarily outside of the internationally recognised borders of Morocco: in occupied Western Sahara. Find out how each MEP voted on the deal, here.
In February last year, the EU Court of Justice had ruled the practice of applying the EU's Fisheries Agreement with Morocco to the waters of Western Sahara to be in violation of international law, in particular of the principle of self-determination.
"The double standard is incredible. One day we observe EU politicians advocate for rule-of-law and democracy in countries like Hungary and Venezuela. The next day, those same politicians openly vote to ignore the rulings of the highest court in the EU. Tell us then, what is the difference? The EU has no right - legally and ethically - to steal the fish from the Saharawi people in partnership with their Moroccan occupiers. We strongly condemn the EU institutions undermining of the ECJ rulings and the UN peace process", Sara Eyckmans, coordinator of Western Sahara Resource Watch stated.
In complete disregard of those concerns, and of the EU's own Court, 415 MEPs voted for the agreement, while 189 opposed and 49 abstained. WSRW will later publish the names of these individuals who supported the illegal agreement covering the waters offshore the occupied territory.
Before the agreement itself was voted on, the Parliament had to vote on a proposal presented by a group of 110 MEPs to refer the agreement to the EU Court for an advisory opinion on its legal framework. That proposal was rejected by 410-189 votes, and 36 abstentions.
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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 five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.