The EU Member States did not come to a decision on the proposed EU-Morocco Fisheries Protocol today. The vote will be postponed a few days.
Due to procedural reasons, the vote will be pushed back until the next COREPER meeting, early next week.
While there was no discussion on the content of the suggested protocol, the Member States do not appear unanimous in their judgement of the text before them. Sweden and Denmark have clearly stated their opposition, while a group led by the protocol's main beneficiary, Spain, ostensibly favour the deal. A handful of countries is said to be wavering.
The much criticised protocol offers the EU four years of access to the waters Morocco considers to be under its sovereignty. Conflicting with the views of the rest of the world, Morocco's own interpretation of its sovereignty includes Western Sahara - an extensive stretch of land that it has largely occupied since 1975. The Saharawi people, the territory's original inhabitants, have not been heard by either the EU or Morocco, in spite of their continuous protests against EU fishing in their occupied waters.
A UN Legal Opinion of 2002 labels such activities illegal if failing to respect the wishes and the interests of the Saharawi people.
The former Legal Counsel to the UN Security Counsel, Mr. Hans Corell, comments on the EU's fisheries activities in Western Sahara.
Are you casting your vote for the EU elections? Find here a complete overview of MEP candidates who have supported the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara in previous controversial votes. Choose wisely.
The UK Court has concluded that the UK government has acted unlawfully in granting preferential tariff treatment to products from Western Sahara through a deal with Morocco, and in granting fisheries quota's for fishing in Western Sahara under a fish deal with Morocco.