Here is what the Commission asks the EU Member States
Today the European Commission has sent a recommendation to the European Council for renewing the fisheries in Western Sahara for one year. The Commission does not even mention that the fisheries take place in Western Sahara.
Published: 11.02 - 2011 12:42Printer version    
A UN legal opinion from 2002 states that natural resource activity in Western Sahara would be in violation of international law if a) the people of Western Sahara are not consulted and b) if it is in disregard of their interests. This opinion is also shared by the Legal Services of the European Parliament.

So far, the EU has fished in the occupied territories for 4 years. Not a single piece of evidence has been provided that the Saharawi have been consulted. And no evidence has been presented that it is in accordance with their interests.

Today, the Commission sent a letter to the EU member states, asking for a mandate to renew the agreement with one year. See the text below. In the text, no references are made to the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara, which is the main area for the EU fisheries. Nor is there any mention of consulting the Saharawi people about the taking of their resource.

Furthermore, instead of sending the information from Morocco to the EU member states, the Commission says it needs ONE year to assess the information that it took them four years to receive.

A number of EU states say they are not willing to allow for a one year renewal unless they are given access to the information that Morocco allegedly provided the Commission in December 2010.

The former UN Legal Counsel who analysed the legality of the matter for the Security Council stated that the EU fisheries is in violation of international law. While the Commission pressures to pay the Moroccan government for the resources in the territory it illegally annexed, the natural resources of the territory is a topic in the UN hosted peace talks between Morocco and the recognized, legitimate representative of the Saharawi people, the POLISARIO Front.

Brussels, 11.2.2011

SEC(2011) 170 final

to authorise the Commission to open negotiations on behalf of the European Union for the renewal of the protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco

to authorise the Commission to open negotiations on behalf of the European Union for the renewal of the protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco
The European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco have concluded a Fisheries Partnership Agreement and its related protocol, which was adopted on 22 May 2006  and entered into force on 28 February 2007. The protocol, which grants fishing opportunities for EU vessels and fixes the financial counterpart, will expire on 27 February 2011.
The application of the current Agreement extends to waters south of 27° 40' N. In line with the specificity of the latter zone under international law and the legal conditions under which the EU has engaged with Morocco in a bilateral agreement including this zone, the Commission asked Morocco on several occasions throughout 2010 to provide an assessment of the benefits of the present Agreement to the local population. Morocco replied to this request on 13 December. While continuing to assess the situation on this basis, it is proposed to renew the current Protocol for one year, so as to allow for time to conclude negotiations on a revised protocol with appropriate guarantees, and for fishing activities to continue in the meantime. The Council is asked to adopt the negotiation guidelines attached to this recommendation.

In light of the above, the Commission recommends that:
– The Council authorises the Commission to open and conduct negotiations for the renewal of the protocol in the framework of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco;
– The renewal is to be limited to one year;
– The Commission is nominated as the Union negotiator for this subject;
– The Commission shall conduct such negotiations in consultation with the special committee pursuant to the provisions laid down in the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union;
– The Council approves the negotiation guidelines attached to this recommendation.

Negotiation guidelines
– The objective of the negotiations is the renewal of the protocol in the framework of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco, in line with the 15 July 2004 Council conclusions on fisheries partnership agreements based on the Commission's communication of 23 December 2002.
– With a view to ensuring the promotion of sustainable and responsible fisheries, the Commission's negotiation objectives will be as follows:
– Renewing the current Protocol for one year, necessary for the adoption of a new legal framework of EU-Morocco fisheries relations, subject to the following conditions:
– An adjustment of fishing opportunities in line with the best available scientific advice;
– Regular reporting on the implementation of sectoral policy, based on commonly agreed indicators, including the regional impact of the protocol.




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.
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