Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska expressed on Monday his optimism about a “rapid and calm” renewal of the fishing protocol between Morocco and the European Union (EU), which expires this July 17.
In statements to the Spanish press, Grande-Marlaska indicated that “discussions are underway on the new memorandum of understanding” between the two parties who are “working hard” to do so.
“Spain and the European Commission are working hard”, the renewal of the agreement is “advancing” and “we hope that it can soon be a reality”, he said.
The minister also recalled that the Spanish government has decided on aid for Spanish fishermen and shipowners who will be affected by the end of the fishing agreement.
Indeed, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) published two orders to the BOE relating to the compensation of vessels affected by the cessation of activity following the end of the agreement, which benefited the fleet of Andalusia, Galicia and the Canary Islands.
These aids include 120,000 euros which will go to shipowners and 182,000 to crew members, 50% co-financed by European Union (EU) funds, for the period from July 18 to September 30, 2023.
As a reminder, Morocco and the European Union (EU) had agreed, last Thursday, to continue their cooperation as provided for in the Partnership Agreement in the field of sustainable fisheries, which “remains in force”, so as to deepen their bilateral partnership.
A joint press release published at the end of the 5th session of the Mixed Commission in charge of monitoring the Agreement, held Thursday in Brussels, had underlined that “Morocco and the European Union have agreed to continue their cooperation as provided for in the Partnership Agreement in the field of sustainable fishing, which remains in force, so as to deepen the bilateral partnership on essential aspects, such as scientific campaigns, technical cooperation, the fight against illegal fishing, economic integration operators, safety devices at sea and improvement of working conditions and protection of seafarers”.
On this occasion, the two parties welcomed their exemplary cooperation which has enabled, in all circumstances, the operations of small-scale and industrial vessels, transparent and rigorous governance of the Protocol, as well as continuous scientific monitoring of the state of fisheries resources, welcoming in this sense the satisfactory implementation of the Fisheries Agreement and its Protocol in its various dimensions, in particular the excellent state of progress of projects for the development of the fisheries sector in Morocco.
They also noted the positive socio-economic impact on the sector, on artisanal fishing, sustainable aquaculture for the benefit of young entrepreneurs and fishermen’s cooperatives, as well as in terms of job creation, training and integration of women and young people, particularly in working life.
On this occasion, the European Union reiterated the “highest” importance it attaches to its partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco in terms of fisheries, and the “essential interest” it attaches to its continuation “in a spirit of trust, solidarity and mutual interest”.
Fisheries relations with Morocco “are part of a global and mutually beneficial partnership, which makes Morocco and the EU strategic partners for stability, development and prosperity in the region”, said also underlined the EU.
It should be noted that this meeting, held in accordance with the Partnership Agreement in the field of sustainable fishing between Morocco and the European Union, made it possible to make an overall assessment of the four years of implementation of the Fisheries Protocol of 18 July 2019, and which expires on July 17, in accordance with its Article 16.