10 months after entry into force, EU-Morocco deal to be voted in Parliament

Next week in Strasbourg the European Parliament will vote in plenary on the extension of the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement.

A debate is scheduled on 12 December, and the vote will take probably place on Tuesday 13 December, according to the draft agenda.

Both the proponents and opponents to the agreement have been busy lobbying MEPs over the last few weeks. The Moroccan embassy to the EU has, among other activities, sent MEPs an email with seven reasons to vote in favour of the agreement.
>> Read the email from the Moroccan embassy

This week in the European Parliament, Pål Wrange, Professor in International Law at Stockholm University, argued that it is illegal to enter into an agreement with Morocco, which explicitly or implicitly recognises the annexation of Western Sahara. The EU-Morocco fisheries agreement is violating international law, Pål Wrange said.
>> Read Pål Wrange’s speech

On Thursday Five MEPs wrote an op-ed in EuropeanVoice, arguing that the agreement has been an ecological, economical and social failure. Supporting the deal would damage EU credibility, the MEPs wrote.

The outcome in the plenary vote is still an open question, as the Fisheries Committee voted for the agreement, while the Budget and Development Committees voted against.

Two political groups, ALDE and EPP, have tabled a resolution regarding upcoming agreements between the EU and Morocco, which will also be voted next week. The resolution is not yet publicly available.

The one-year extension of the agreement effectively entered into force on 28 February 2011 and was approved by Council in June. Although the European Parliament has not yet approved the agreement, EU vessels have been able to fish in Moroccan waters over the 10 months since the deal was preliminarily adopted.

Axel Naver

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