Saharawi challenge EU-Morocco fishery deal

The European Union’s fisheries agreement with Morocco should be declared invalid because it includes the disputed territory of Western Sahara, an adviser to the EU’s top court said.

The EU and Morocco concluded an association agreement in 1996 and a partnership agreement in the fisheries sector in 2006, the validity of which was disputed by campaign groups in Britain.

“The fisheries exploitation by the EU of the waters adjacent to Western Sahara established and implemented by the contested acts does not respect the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination,” Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said.

The court often follows the Advocate General’s advice, but is not obliged to do so.

At present the territories of Western Sahara are partially controlled by the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.

In 2016, the European Union (EU) declared that “Western Sahara is not part of Moroccan territory”. In March 2016, Morocco “expelled more than 70 U.N. civilian staffers with MINURSO” due to strained relations after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara an “occupation”.

 

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