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Western Sahara

Solidarity activists are continuing to use the European Union (EU) as a lever of influence over Morocco, which has been illegally occupying the nation of Western Sahara since 1975.

The main issue is the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement, which allows EU trawlers to fish in the coastal waters of both Morocco and occupied Western Sahara.

The renewal of the agreement for one year (cost 36m Euros) was voted down in the European parliament on 14 December, and Morocco promptly banned EU fishing boats. (There was a resulting protest by Spanish fisherfolk on 9 January.)

The European Commission was, at the time of writing, hastily pushing forward a new wording, which allegedly reduces the cost and the environmental impact of the fisheries agreement, and which requires Morocco to report regularly on the economic benefits of the agreement to the people of Western Sahara (something it has never done).

The annual Freedom House survey of political rights and civil liberties, released on 13 January, classed Western Sahara and Tibet as the two worst-rated territories in the world, on a par with countries such as North Korea, Syria and Turkmenistan.


Topics: Western Sahara