European Commission expected to extend fishing agreement between EU and Morocco

According to the newspaper European Voice, the European Commission is set to propose a one year extension to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) between the European Union and Morocco, despite criticism that the agreement disregards the rights of the people in the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

The proposal, expected to be published on 11 February, would extend the 2005 deal which is due to expire at the end of February and therefore allow EU vessels fishing in the waters of Morocco and Western Sahara to continue their activities.

Critics claims that the agreement breaches international law as it ignores the rights of the Saharawi people to have control over their marine resources. Discussions to renew the agreement excluding the waters of Western Sahara, reported to be the preferred option of the Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, have been blocked by some of her colleagues in the European Commission.

The one year extension would allow for time to analyse the situation before coming to a decision on a new agreement.

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