4 April 2012
Non-renewal EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement due to the question of Western Sahara
On 14 December 2011 the European Parliament decided not to renew the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Morocco signed in 2005. This agreement granted licenses to EU vessels to fish in Morocco’s Atlantic waters, without distinguishing between the waters of Morocco and those of Western Sahara. Western Sahara is a territory annexed by Morocco, that continues to strive for self-determination. A 2002 legal opinion of UN Legal Advisor Hans Corell expressed that exploitation of the territory’s resources could only be considered legal if the Sahrawi population were consulted and benefited.
The vote in Parliament was largely based on a report by MEP Carl Haglund, who raised the question of the legality of an agreement including fishing rights off the coast of Western Sahara and the question of the benefit to the Sahrawi people.