EU looking for new alternatives to the fisheries agreement before it expires

On July 18, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) between the European Union and Morocco will expire, forcing the European Commission to explore for alternatives to keep its ships off the coast of the Kingdom.

The EU Court of Justice will render a final ruling on the agreement’s legality, which has been contested due to its inclusion of the nation’s southern territories, before it goes into effect in 2019.

The SFPA’s cancellation would result in approximately 128 ships carrying the flags of 10 EU Member States leaving Moroccan seas, raising serious concerns for Europe.

Contractually, the fisheries of Morocco are to the profit of Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

By the July deadline, Rabat will no longer close its waters to the European fleet, but there will be no legal framework for Morocco to issue fishing licenses to EU vessels.

Brussels is attempting to find a different course of action that upholds the agreement that 92% of the catch will come from Moroccan Saharan seas.

Luis Planas, Spain’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, has taken the initiative to draw attention to this problem by requesting that the European Union implement support measures to assist the Spanish fleet.

“We anticipate a positive judgment” We have consistently supported the agreement’s validity alongside the European Commission and the Council of Ministers, he recently said from Brussels.

Spanish MEP Idoia Villanueva of Unidas Podemos stated that “these talks are being opaque and are not taking into account the Polisario Front,” the instigator separatists who are pushing for the agreement’s annulment.

“The Commission has began working with Morocco with the objective of initiating negotiation of a new protocol as soon as legally possible, with full regard for the ongoing procedure of the European Court of Justice,” a spokesperson for the European Coalition informed the media.

The scheduled meeting to discuss the legality of the two agreements made with Morocco will be presided over by Spain.

Read Also: Good relations with Morocco benefit the border areas, says Canary Islands president

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