Parliamentarians ask Commission to stop maintaining Sahara conflict
Continuing EU fisheries in occupied Western Sahara contributes to prolonging the conflict, states 7 parliamentarians in a letter to the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs. They refer to a resolution from the European Parliament urging Morocco to stop the plunder of the territory it occupied in 1975.
Maria Damanaki Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Strasbourg, 16 February 2011
FPA with Morocco - involvement of the European Parliament
we, as the board of European Parliament's Intergroup for Western Sahara (with over 60 members of all political groups), want to raise the current issue of the envisaged extension of the fisheries agreement with Morocco and Parliament's involvement in this extension.
As you certainly know, Parliament adopted a resolution on 25 November 2010 "on the situation in Western Sahara" in which it states amongst others:
"J. whereas several reports have shown that natural resources of Western Sahara are being exploited without any benefit to the local population," "11. Calls on the EU to demand that the Kingdom of Morocco abide by international law regarding the exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara;"
The Moroccan authorities have for a long time not provided any evidence that the FPA benefits the local population, i.e. the Sahrawi people in Western Sahara. Apparently in December 2010 they provided some documents on the basis of which the Commission now proposed an extension of the FPA to avoid an end of the FPA by 28 February 2011.
May we urge you to provide Parliament as soon as possible with these Moroccan documents in order for the Parliament to be able to also examine whether and in which way the FPA actually benefits the Sahrawi people? It is unnecessary to remind you that Parliament will only agree to a new FPA with Morocco if the provisions of international law are clearly abided by. The very late answer of the Moroccan authorities did not help to convince us that this is actually the case.
Dear Commissioner, We are convinced that you are aware of the fact that the controversy linked to the FPA represents just a reflection of a long-standing unsolved problem of the status of Western Sahara. The renewal of the FPA on the basis of "business-as- usual" policy may objectively lead to a further delay in finding a just and durable solution of the problem of Western Sahara, where we expect that the European Union plays a more decisive and constructive role. We hope for your cooperation in this important matter.
Norbert Neuser, MEP President of the Intergroup Western Sahara Jill Evans, MEP Vice-President of the Intergroup Western Sahara Francisco Sosa Wagner, MEP Vice-President of the Intergroup Western Sahara Ivo Vajgl, MEP Vice-President of the Intergroup Western Sahara Marco Scurria, MEP Vice-President of Intergroup Western Sahara Willy Meyer, MEP Vice-President of the Intergroup Western Sahara Raül Romeva i Rueda, MEP Vice-President of the Intergroup Western Sahara
The EU considers to pay Morocco to fish in occupied Western Sahara. An EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement from 2013 would be both politically controversial and in violation of international law.
The international Fish Elsewhere! campaign demands the EU to avoid such unethical operations, and go fishing somewhere else. No fishing in Western Sahara should take place until the conflict is solved.