The European Commission recently communicated on the most recent developments concerning the maritime fishing agreement between Brussels and Rabat, which will expire at the end of next June. She specified that negotiations with Morocco have not yet started.
In a statement addressed to MoroccoLatestNewsthe European Commission claimed that there was “no no ongoing negotiations with Morocco regarding the renewal of the fishing agreement, nor on the inclusion of the southern regions of the kingdom in the agreement“.
According to the same source, everyone in Europe is waiting for the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which could be delivered before the expiry date of the agreement next July“.
The Commission underlined that the position of the European Union concerning the Moroccan Sahara ” remains unchanged“, adding that ” the fishing agreement is concluded without compromising the positions of the two parties“.
In the same statement, the institution also claimed that ” the European Union supports the efforts of the United Nations aimed at reaching a just, realistic, practical and lasting political solution, acceptable to both parties, to the question of the Sahara, on the basis of a settlement in accordance with the resolutions of the Council of United Nations security“.
Following the decision in September 2021 of the Court of Justice of the European Union which had invalidated the fishing agreements concluded between Morocco and the EU, more than 130 European fishing vessels are threatened with no longer having access to Moroccan waters. .
The fishing agreements are due to expire next July, and their renewal in the face of this court decision remains unlikely, although this is the first track considered by the Europeans.
This situation is a headache for Europeans who see that their different institutions are not homogeneous. On the one hand the European Commission is fighting for these agreements, on the other European justice invalidates them. Moreover, the Council of the EU was quick to file an appeal in December 2021 and the verdict is expected by the end of the year.
In the meantime, between July and the expected verdict, the situation of fishermen, and countries with vessels fishing in Moroccan waters find themselves obliged to withdraw their vessels, something that provokes the anger of these countries, in particular the Spain, and which have requested the conclusion of a new protocol.
Fisheries agreements grant licenses to 132 vessels from 10 European countries. Of the total ships, 93 are Spanish, and the rest are divided between Portugal, France, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy and even the United Kingdom.
At the end of March, after many negotiations and discussions at European level to try to make the agreements last, the European Commission finally ruled out the possibility of an extension.
In question, the judgment of the General Court of the EU maintains the existing one during its period of validity but prevents the conclusion of new agreements pending the decision of the Court.
This conclusion should put all these vessels and the 10 member countries that rely on these fish and shellfish in a perilous situation, which represent means of creating added value for various industries, including agri-food, catering and tourism.