Still no deal in fourth round of EU-Morocco fish talks

The fourth round of EU-Morocco negotiations to reach a new fish agreement couldn't reach a consensus. New talks are to take place in Rabat, on 11-12 February.
Published: 04.02 - 2013 11:26Printer version    
EU Commissioner for Fisheries Maria Damanaki issued a short statement saying that "real and gradual progress is being made".

Sources close to the Commission claim that differences on the financial chapter are the hurdle that remains to be taken.

"It is astounding that the financial part of the accord seems to present a bigger obstacle to the Commission than the risk of backing up an illegal occupation", says Sara Eyckmans, coordinator of Western Sahara Resource Watch. Only three weeks ago, Morocco's Minister for Communication, Mustapha el Khalfi, remarked that agreements that do not separate between Morocco and Western Sahara, prove that the Sahara is in fact Moroccan.

The Spanish government and the Spanish fish sector - the main interested parties for a new agreement - have been lobbying hard for Commissioner Damanaki to come up with a new fisheries regime that is both acceptable to Morocco and to the European Parliament.

In December 2011, the European Parliament repudiated the renewal of the agreement due to concerns on its economic viability, sustainability and legality, in terms of respecting the right to self-determination of the people of 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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