European Liberal Youth calls for no EU fishing in occupied Sahara
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The congress of the European Liberal youth organisation LYMEC this week-end called for the European Parliament to vote down a proposed fisheries agreement with Morocco covering the waters that Morocco has illegally occupied.
Published 18 November 2013

The umbrella organisation for European liberal youth organisations, LYMEC, 14-17 November held its annual congress in Bucharest, Romania. The congress issued a clear statement calling the European Parliament to not enter into a fisheries agreement with Morocco, as such an agreement "can prove detrimental to the UN peace process". The EU is planning to pay Morocco 40 million Euros a year for issuing fishing licences offshore the territory that Morocco is illegally occupying.

Involving about 210,000 members from 58 organisations in 33 countries, LYMEC is made up of memember organisations and individual members across Europe.

This is the resolution adopted:

Resolution: Promoting sovereignty over natural resources for the people of Western Sahara

Noting that...
• Morocco has occupied areas of Western Sahara since 1975, a territory in process of decolonisation,
• Western Sahara is endowed with a wealth of natural resources, including phosphates and fisheries,
• more than 165,000 Sahrawis currently live as refugees in Algeria following the occupation of Western Sahara,
• European Parliament members of the Intergroup for Western Sahara have been denied entry to Morocco,
• the European Commission recently signed a new Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco, which, if adopted, will also apply to the waters of Western Sahara,
• The European Parliament’s legal service has stated that fisheries in Western Sahara would be illegal unless it is conducted accordance with the wishes of the people of the territory.

Believing that...
• Western Sahara has the right to become an independent state,
• trade agreements between the EU and Morocco can have a positive impact on Morocco, but that such agreements should only apply to the territory internationally recognized as Moroccan,
• the EU entering into a fisheries agreement with Morocco which also covers the waters of Western Sahara can prove detrimental to the UN peace process.

Resolving that...
• the LYMEC Bureau and Member Organizations should raise awareness of the situation in Western Sahara with the ALDE Group in the European Parliament and in their respective member states,
• the EU Member States and the European Parliament should vote against any trade or fisheries agreement with Morocco that includes waters belonging to Western Sahara.

Here is the EU Council's legal advice on fishing in occupied waters

Before voting on the new EU-Morocco fish deal in 2018, extending into occupied Western Sahara, several EU Member States asked for legal advice that would determine their vote. WSRW today publishes that influential legal opinion, which appears to miss the ball entirely.
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