The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, said yesterday, after hearing that the General Court of the European Union (TEU) has annulled the fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco, that the Government will work to preserve the interests of the Spanish fleet.
The Court annulled the agreement for including Western Sahara, a territory pending decolonisation, as well as the tariff advantages that the bloc grants to products from the former Spanish colony by virtue of the trade pact between Brussels and Rabat.
The Luxembourg court’s ruling upholds two appeals lodged by the Polisario Front, but maintains the application of these agreements “for a certain period of time” in order to “preserve the Union’s external action and the legal security of its international commitments”.
Planas considered that the judgements issued do not call into question the relationship with Morocco, and added: “Looking to the future, as a government, we are going to preserve the interests of our fishermen with respect, because we can only respect the judgements while awaiting a more in-depth knowledge of their content”, of which only the press release was known at the time.
The minister indicated that it is clear from the press release that without prejudice to the ruling, both agreements “remain in force” at least for a certain period of time.
Planas acknowledged that Morocco is a “strategic partner” and that it is an “important fishing ground” for the Spanish fleet, since of the 132 vessels that fish in its waters, 93 are nationals of the Andalusian, Galician and Canary Islands fleets.
“We are interested in the continuity of the agreement, but always with respect for international law and within the framework of the relations of cooperation and friendship that we have with Morocco,” the minister stressed.