Inconsistency of conclusions of the Advocate General of the EUCJ on the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement

The Advocate General of the European Union Court of Justice (EUCJ) issued Wednesday a second opinion advocating the invalidation of the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement, in total contradiction with the European policy towards Morocco.

The Advisor gave his opinion in response to a question submitted to the London High Court by a UK-based group known for its support to the separatist theses of the Polisario Front and its mentor, Algeria. However, this opinion has a strong political connotation rather than a legal one.

According to international observers, this opinion has a limited scope knowing that it is the judges of the Court and the EU who have the last word. Besides, Morocco-EU partnership has been going on for more than fifty years and this partnership is not limited to the fishing sector only.

Some analysts also argue that it is rather the populations of the Moroccan Sahara provinces that would suffer the most in case the agreement is not renewed, as the European financial subsidies largely benefit the region in terms of investment, employment and socio-economic development.

This is also the case for the fishing fleets of many EU member countries, which are calling for the renewal of the Fisheries Agreement with Morocco.

Moreover, on Monday January 8, the European Commission formally asked the European Council to authorize the opening of negotiations with Morocco on the renewal of the fishing agreement of 2014, which expires in July 2018.

The European Commission, in a recent report based on field studies, confirmed that the fisheries agreement generates many important socio-economic benefits for the Sahara populations and contributes to improving their life quality.

By suggesting the invalidation of this agreement, the Advocate General of the EUCJ seems to swim against the tide and to adopt a stand contrary to the will of the European community, its cohesion and its economic and geostrategic interests.

It is worth recalling that the same Advocate General issued a similar opinion in September 2016, but his opinion was disavowed by the European court’s judges who, in their final verdict, established the legality of the agreements between Morocco and the EU and the inadmissibility of the Polisario’s appeals.

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