In a month, the Morocco-European Union (EU) fishing agreement will expire and no negotiations between the two partners are on the horizon, according to the Europeans who are thinking of a way to offer a new formula to the Kingdom. Morocco, for its part, seems to adopt a neutral and peaceful position.
The Morocco-EU fisheries agreement, which entered into force on July 18, 2019, expires on July 17, enough to create unrest in European circles mired in an internal crisis.
For the first time, voices assume the non-renewal of this agreement, of which Spain is the greatest beneficiary. Thanks to fishing in the Moroccan Atlantic coasts, the Iberian neighbor harvests 20% of the total European fishing production and is the first EU country in this sector.
As the countdown to the expiration date approaches, the tensions on the Spanish side are increasingly felt. Even the most anti-Moroccan political voices in the southern European neighbor are beginning to raise their voices to demand the renewal of the agreement or the search for alternative solutions to protect the incomes of at least a thousand families. of fishermen and an industry that feeds the whole country and contributes to the development of tourism in Spain.
However, no discussion or negotiation is underway for the renewal of this agreement, according to the European Union. In question, a complicated internal situation at the level of the European Union since the decision of the European Court of Justice to invalidate the agreement in September 2021, and the appeal of this decision formulated by the Council of the European Union a few days later.
Meanwhile, Morocco, which was a claimant at one time, has become an observer and lets the Europeans extricate themselves from a situation specific to them, especially since currently the Kingdom can find replacements for the Europeans very easily.
It is already linked by fishing agreements with several countries such as Russia, which is in pole position to recover the place of the Europeans, but also with Great Britain, which has given a scathing response to members of the Algerian militia of the polisario who wanted to call into question the association agreement with Morocco. China, India, Turkey are also on the list of potential replacement countries, if Morocco so wishes.
Morocco’s current posture is explained by a new foreign policy of the country which adopts the tone of firmness and calls for clarity in relation to the positions of its partners on the subject of its national sovereignty and its territorial integrity.
It must be said, Morocco was only interested in these agreements to serve a diplomatic victory since the geographical area they covered extends to the Moroccan Sahara. Except that today, the situation has changed and Rabat no longer wishes to be at the heart of political blackmail.
Morocco is no longer in this configuration, it no longer wishes to monetize its natural resources against a financial return and a continuously waved sword of Damocles or to find itself obliged to justify itself on what is rightfully its. He seeks serious, respectful, and strong partnerships between strong States, with these same countries which were only customers.
The Kingdom is therefore in a new phase of its policy and its positioning and these agreements do not represent this vision and this Moroccan state of mind.
The ball is undoubtedly in the European camp, which must provide a clear answer and update and comply with all its instruments, instead of blowing hot and cold.
The European Court of Justice is due to deliver its verdict on the EU’s appeal on the conformity of the agreements. This will be an opportunity to observe what position Europe will adopt, especially in the light of the response, on the same subject, from the British court.