Carl Haglund is the European Parliament’s rapporteur for the one-year extension of the controversial EU-Morocco fisheries agreement. At a press conference today he presented his report, in which he recommends that the European Parliament rejects the agreement.
Carl Haglund has based this recommendation on the evaluation of the last agreement, 2007-2011. The evaluation shows that the agreement fails to fulfil the objectives of stabilising the EU market and developing the Moroccan fisheries sector. The evaluation further highlights the financial inefficiency of the agreement and the bad state of Moroccan fish stocks.
Haglund’s report has not yet been voted by the fisheries committee and is not expected to reach a vote by all MEPs in plenary until December, i.e. almost 10 months after the one-year extension began.
Haglund said that one reason for this long process is that it had taken the European Commission a long time to provide him with an English translation of the evaluation of the previous agreement.
“The European Commission has some things to learn about involving the European Parliament the way they should according to the Lisbon treaty. I have found it easier to cooperate with the Moroccan authorities than with the European Commission,” said Carl Haglund.
Carl Haglund further criticised the Commission for having initiated negotiations for a new agreement, without involving the European Parliament, since the new agreement will also enter into force next year without the prior consent of the European Parliament.
Last week, the European Parliament rejected a proposal to refer the Morocco agreement to the European Court of Justice.
“I want this agreement to be treated as an economic agreement and not as a political battle over Western Sahara. Personally, I am tired of the discussion about yes or no regarding Western Sahara. From that point of view it would have been good to get an answer from the ECJ,” Carl Haglund said.
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.