Fisheries Agreement Eu-Morocco
The General Court of the European Union first recognised that the Front Polisario had the legal capacity to bring an action before the Courts of the European Union, which the defendants had challenged. Next, it shared the Polisario`s view that the consent of the people of Western Sahara was necessary in order to implement the agreements applicable to the territory and that the measures taken by the EU authorities, such as consultations, could not be regarded as obtaining that consent. Javier Garat, President of Europêche: “The draft EU-Morocco fisheries agreement not only ensures respect for international law, but also clearly benefits local communities in Western Sahara through EU fishing activities, landings and investments. This agreement will continue to contribute to improving the sustainable management of fish stocks in these rich fishing areas and is crucial for the activities of up to 128 vessels from 10 EU countries, 700 fishermen and 3,500 shore workers. We are committed to continuing to create prosperity and jobs in the region. We therefore call on Parliament`s plenary to be consistent and consistent in its decisions and to broadly support the fisheries agreement, as was the case for agriculture in the same circumstances. Last week, the European Parliament adopted the agricultural agreement between Morocco and the EU in plenary and adopted it by a large majority. The agreement represents the culmination of a long process of technical negotiations, political consultations and legal validations between the two parties. The fisheries agreement has undergone the same controls and it is now time for the European Parliament to review the final result. The Court`s decision was widely expected as it reflects previous decisions. In 2016 and 2018, the Court stated that previous versions of the trade and fisheries agreements only applied to Morocco and not to resource-rich Western Sahara. The accession of Spain and Portugal to the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1986 gave the EC exclusive competence in fisheries matters, including in its external relations.
The compatibility of the Agreement with international law has been the subject of two legal opinions drawn up by the legal services of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. Parliament`s opinion has been published (albeit partially), while the Council`s opinion has not yet been published.  The rule of international law, where the consent of a “third party to an international agreement may be presumed” if the agreement grants rights to the party, does not apply to this case, the tribunal said. The European Union`s second highest court annulled the EU`s trade and fisheries agreements with Morocco, saying they were concluded without the consent of the people of Western Sahara. The first protocol to the current Fisheries Partnership Agreement lasted until 27 February 2011 and provided for a financial contribution of €36.1 million, of which €13.5 million was intended to support Morocco`s fisheries policy. Vessels from 11 EU Member States could obtain fishing authorisations from Morocco under the Agreement and this Protocol. The agreement provides for the granting of 119 fishing licences for Community vessels (mainly Spanish, but also from other EU countries) and a total of 6000 tonnes of pelagic fish for industrial fishing by vessels from France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain. In return, the EU will pay Morocco a financial contribution of €144 million, plus around €13.6 million to be paid by shipowners as royalties.  The EU and Morocco have a long history together. Their relations have deepened in recent decades thanks to several international agreements: an association agreement in 1996, a fisheries agreement in 2007, an advanced status in 2008 and an agricultural agreement in 2012. When the agreement expired in November 1999, Morocco rejected the extension because it wanted to avoid the complete depletion of fish stocks.
This has created problems for the Spanish and Portuguese fishing fleets, which have always been the main beneficiaries of fishing licences under the European Community`s fisheries agreements with Morocco. .