Due to procedural reasons, the vote will be pushed back until the next COREPER meeting, early next week.
While there was no discussion on the content of the suggested protocol, the Member States do not appear unanimous in their judgement of the text before them. Sweden and Denmark have clearly stated their opposition, while a group led by the protocol's main beneficiary, Spain, ostensibly favour the deal. A handful of countries is said to be wavering.
The much criticised protocol offers the EU four years of access to the waters Morocco considers to be under its sovereignty. Conflicting with the views of the rest of the world, Morocco's own interpretation of its sovereignty includes Western Sahara - an extensive stretch of land that it has largely occupied since 1975. The Saharawi people, the territory's original inhabitants, have not been heard by either the EU or Morocco, in spite of their continuous protests against EU fishing in their occupied waters.
A UN Legal Opinion of 2002 labels such activities illegal if failing to respect the wishes and the interests of the Saharawi people.
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.
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.