The New Fisheries Protocol between the European Union and Morocco was approved by the European Parliament on 10 December 2013 and it has recently entered into force with the ratification by the Moroccan Parliament. As the significant opposition and reservations expressed in the Council and in the European Parliament show, the agreement, which extends the 2007 Fisheries Partnership Agreement for another four-year term, remains controversial from the point of view of its compliance with the right of self-determination of the Sahrawi people and of the latter’s permanent sovereignty over their natural resources. The present analysis endeavors to examine two important issues from the perspective of international law; and namely, a) whether indeed the agreement is in compliance with the rights of the Sahrawi population, as claimed by the European Commissioner for Fisheries, Maria Danaki, during the debate in the Parliament; and b) whether it can be considered a form of implied recognition of Morocco’s legal authority over Western Sahara, hence implying a breach of the duty of non-recognition possibly incumbent upon the European Union.
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