Parliamentarians ask Commission to stop maintaining Sahara conflict
Continuing EU fisheries in occupied Western Sahara contributes to prolonging the conflict, states 7 parliamentarians in a letter to the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs. They refer to a resolution from the European Parliament urging Morocco to stop the plunder of the territory it occupied in 1975.
Published: 17.02 - 2011 11:26Printer version    
See the letter below.

Maria Damanaki
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs
and Fisheries
Strasbourg, 16 February 2011

FPA with Morocco - involvement of the European Parliament

Dear Commissioner,

we, as the board of European Parliament's Intergroup for Western Sahara (with
over 60 members of all political groups), want to raise the current issue of the
envisaged extension of the fisheries agreement with Morocco and Parliament's
involvement in this extension.

As you certainly know, Parliament adopted a resolution on 25 November 2010 "on
the situation in Western Sahara" in which it states amongst others:

"J. whereas several reports have shown that natural resources of Western Sahara
are being exploited without any benefit to the local population,"
"11. Calls on the EU to demand that the Kingdom of Morocco abide by
international law regarding the exploitation of the natural resources of Western

The Moroccan authorities have for a long time not provided any evidence that the
FPA benefits the local population, i.e. the Sahrawi people in Western Sahara.
Apparently in December 2010 they provided some documents on the basis of which
the Commission now proposed an extension of the FPA to avoid an end of the FPA
by 28 February 2011.

May we urge you to provide Parliament as soon as possible with these Moroccan
documents in order for the Parliament to be able to also examine whether and in
which way the FPA actually benefits the Sahrawi people?
It is unnecessary to remind you that Parliament will only agree to a new FPA
with Morocco if the provisions of international law are clearly abided by. The
very late answer of the Moroccan authorities did not help to convince us that
this is actually the case.

Dear Commissioner,
We are convinced that you are aware of the fact that the controversy linked to
the FPA represents just a reflection of a long-standing unsolved problem of the
status of Western Sahara. The renewal of the FPA on the basis of "business-as-
usual" policy may objectively lead to a further delay in finding a just and
durable solution of the problem of Western Sahara, where we expect that the
European Union plays a more decisive and constructive role.
We hope for your cooperation in this important matter.

Sincerely yours,

Norbert Neuser, MEP
President of the Intergroup Western Sahara
Jill Evans, MEP
Vice-President of the Intergroup Western Sahara
Francisco Sosa Wagner, MEP
Vice-President of the Intergroup Western Sahara
Ivo Vajgl, MEP
Vice-President of the Intergroup Western Sahara
Marco Scurria, MEP
Vice-President of Intergroup Western Sahara
Willy Meyer, MEP
Vice-President of the Intergroup Western Sahara
Raül Romeva i Rueda, MEP
Vice-President of the Intergroup Western Sahara




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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