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Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment Isabel García Tejerina. (Photo: Rastrojo/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Spanish Govt advocates negotiating EU-Morocco fishing agreement as soon as possible

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Thursday, April 12, 2018, 02:30 (GMT + 9)

The Spanish Government supports that the negotiations with Morocco for the amendment of the Fisheries Agreement and the renewal of the Protocol will begin as soon as possible, to avoid a period of suspension of the Protocol that could have negative consequences for the fishing sector and people who benefit from this economic activity.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment Isabel García Tejerina said in the Senate that the Government maintains a constant dialogue with the sector and the affected autonomous communities. At the same time, work is performed with the authorities of the European Union and with the Government of Morocco to ensure the protection of the Spanish fleet, for compliance with International Law and for the mutual benefit of the agreement.

In his speech, García Tejerina said that the Court of Justice of the EU in February declared the validity of the Collaboration Agreement in the fishing sector, although neither said agreement nor its protocol are applicable to waters adjacent to the territory of Western Sahara. In this way, the agreement remains in effect until July 14, 2018.

The minister explained that in order to renew the agreement and adapt it to the provisions of the ruling of said court, a negotiation mandate will be discussed in the Fisheries Group of the Council, which will be taken to the Council of Fisheries Ministers next week for its approval.

This mandate includes access to waters adjacent to Western Sahara under certain conditions and on a provisional basis. However, this mandate would be subject to a possible solution to the question of Western Sahara within the framework of the United Nations.

Likewise, García Tejerina pointed out that both the mandate and the negotiation directives must take as a reference the formula that allowed the approval, in May 2017, of the negotiating mandate of the agricultural agreement.

In this way, the minister hopes that negotiations with Morocco will begin soon.

"We want to reconcile our neighbourly relations with Morocco, with the important mutual benefit of the Agreement for our respective fishing sectors," she said.

Related articles:

- Brussels proposes EU-Morocco fisheries partnership agreement amendment
- CJEU validates fisheries agreement with Morocco, but excludes Western Sahara


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