Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal in December. Two years ago, in December 2011, the Parliament rejected the previously proposed Fisheries Agreement with Morocco, demanding the text be renegotiated for three main reasons: the deal did not respect the fundamental rights of the people of Western Sahara, it was not profitable for the EU, and it contained no guarantees on the sustainable management of the fish stocks, even after an independent evaluation had demonstrated that Morocco was failing on that front.
Morocco has now increased the fishing licences it will issue to the EU fleet by 33%, in exchange for an annual € 40 million. The EU's financial contribution is thus higher than under the previous arrangement, though the added burden will be borne by the shipowners using the licences.
The new fisheries arrangement will once again allow the EU fleet to fish not only in Morocco, but also in the waters of occupied Western Sahara. The European Commission has however not sought the consent of the Saharawi people on the deal which will profoundly impact the fish stocks in their occupied waters.
The EU Member States on Friday, 15 November 2013, formally endorsed the proposal in the Council for Economy. Only two countries opposed the deal: Sweden and Denmark.
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.