EU Agricultural and Fisheries Agreement with Morocco confirms Moroccan sovereignty over Sahara region

BYYasir Rehman

Photo by Moroccan Embassy

Morocco and the European Union signed the fisheries agreement including Western Sahara and European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs has adopted the EU-Morocco agriculture deal which confirms that any agreement covering Moroccan Sahara can be negotiated and signed only by the kingdom of Morocco.

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini has termed the adoption of the agriculture agreement between the European Union (EU) and Morocco, as the beginning of a new stage in relations between the two parties.

Following crucial agreements, Federica Mogherini paid a visit to Rabat on Wednesday as part of the process of reviving relations between Morocco and the European Union.

Photo by MAP

“I am convinced that it is possible to relaunch the Morocco-EU partnership on a new basis and give it a new impetus, in order to write a new, positive and intense chapter in the long history linking the European Union and the Kingdom”, she said at a joint press conference with Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita.

In addition to having a key role in the Mediterranean neighbourhood, Morocco is a “strategic partner of the EU for 50 years”, the High Representative pointed out.

The vote by an overwhelming majority at the European Parliament, of the Agricultural Agreement between Morocco and the European Union constitutes an important mark of the strong partnership between the Kingdom and the EU, said a statement issued by the embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Canberra on Friday.

The statement said that the agreement negotiated by Morocco, the European Council as well as the European Commission in addition to the vote by the overwhelming majority at the European Parliament strongly demonstrate the attachment of Europeans to the preservation of this privileged relationship and advanced status that distinguish it.

Moroccan agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch while welcoming the agreement said that it is a strategic and solid agreement that benefits populations in the southern provinces of the Kingdom.

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In a statement he said this agreement will allow populations in the southern provinces to export their products in the best conditions and to deal freely with the European Union
The adoption follows the signing of the sustainable fisheries agreement that sets out the conditions of access for the European fleet and lays down the requirements for sustainable fishing.

The agreement includes provisions aimed at maximising the benefits and advantages for local populations in the areas concerned.

Furthermore, in order to preserve the sustainability of fisheries resources and protect the marine environment, technical requirements have been incorporated into this agreement.

The agreement, approved on the 16th of January, explicitly stresses that agricultural and fishing products from the southern provinces enjoy the same tariff preferences as those covered by the association agreement between Morocco and the EU, without any differentiation. It also confirms that any agreement covering Moroccan Sahara can be negotiated and signed only by the kingdom of Morocco in the exercise of its full sovereignty over that part of its territory.

The achievements of Morocco are today undeniably reinforced. Finally, out of bad comes good since the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which Algeria and Polisario have welcomed, have paved the way for this Moroccan-European clarification.