"We have no information which shows that the fishing activities that take place under the agreement are not to the benefit of the people of Western Sahara", stated the representative from the Commission.
The Commission continued to refrain from commenting on the Sahrawi people's wishes. Western Sahara Resource Watch has previously documented how the Commission systematically misquotes an important United Nations opinion from 2002 to defend their operations. The Commission does this by ignoring the wishes of the Sahrawis, which is a key point in their right to self-determination.
Several MEPs reacted to the Commission's statement, and expressed their support for the Legal Opinion of the Parliament's Legal Service.
Some MEPs also chose to look away from the Legal Opinion in their interventions. In stead, they insisted that a fisheries agreement has nothing to do with politics, and that fisheries committee should only discuss matters of fish.
This story is currently being updated.
Parts of the European Parliament discussion 23 February 2010 can be downloaded from these 2 files:
Part 1 - starts with a presentation of the Legal Opinion by the Parliament's Legal Service.
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.