Thursday

19th Oct 2017

Morocco expels EU fishing boats

  • MEPs have banned the EU from fishing in Morocco (Photo: Ross Thomson)

Morocco has told all EU fishing boats to immediately get out of its waters after MEPs scotched a bilateral aid agreement in a row over Western Sahara.

"No fishing activity from the European fleet will be tolerated and all boats operating in the area of the fisheries agreement are asked to leave national territorial waters on Wednesday before midnight," the Moroccan foreign ministry said in a statement following the decision in Strasbourg on Wednesday (14 December).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Under the old agreement, the Moroccan government allowed European fishermen to operate in the area in return for some €36 million per year.

The European Commission extended the deal in February, pending formal approval by the European Parliament. But MEPs ruled it did not take into account the interests of the local Sahrawi people, whose status has been in limbo ever since Morocco annexed the area in 1975.

"Morocco has no right, under international law, to sell the natural resources of Western Sahara. It follows, therefore, that the EU should not be paying Morocco for fishing rights in the waters off Western Sahara," said Scottish MEP Ian Hudghton of the European Free Alliance, a grouping in the assembly bringing together independence movements across Europe.

Spanish Green MEP Raul Romeva said: "The agreement is a shameful stain on EU foreign policy and it is time it was consigned to the past."

The decision to annul the pact, which comes into force immediately, "should not be seen as a hostile move towards our partners," said Finnish liberal MEP Carl Haglund, who led the rebellion.

For her part, EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki said the European Commission would respect parliament's decision.

She added that a replacement deal might be difficult to achieve, however. "We don't know if a new fisheries protocol with Morocco is possible," she said in a statement.

This story was corrected at 10am on Thursday 15 December. The original headline said MEPs had ordered the boats to leave.

Opinion

EU's new fisheries policy: throwing a lifeline to the oceans.

European consumers eat nearly twice the fish that our oceans can provide, our over-subsidized fleet is too big, too powerful and not selective enough, writes Xavier Pastor ahead of the talks to reform the Common Fisheries Policy.

Morocco-EU trade deal draws fire

The European Parliament has signed off a trade deal with Morocco which poses questions about the status of Western Sahara.

Europe holds off on storing CO2

Most reports looking at long-term climate scenarios agree that some form of carbon capture and storage is needed. However, its deployment has been stalled in the EU.

Macron puts trade policy on summit table

France's president wants a "political discussion" on EU trade policies at Thursday's summit, amid domestic concerns over Canada and South America deals. But his colleagues are likely to avoid a lengthy debate.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs and states agree on CO2 exemption for flights
  2. Spanish government to decide Saturday on Catalonia measures
  3. EU court confirms freezing of Yanukovych funds
  4. UK PM appeals to EU citizens
  5. Catalan leader sends independence ultimatum
  6. Madrid eyes early elections as solution to Catalan crisis
  7. Merkel starts coalition talks to form government by December
  8. Iceland confirms long-standing EU opposition, poll shows

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year