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Spain wants Morocco’s parliament to quickly ratify the fisheries agreement

Spanish Agriculture Minister Luis Planas has urged the Moroccan Parliament to quickly ratify the fisheries agreement. Unless an extraordinary session is called, Spain has to wait until April.

On the sidelines of the 5th edition of the Halieutis fair, inaugurated Wednesday in Agadir, the Spanish Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries met his Moroccan counterpart.

Luis Planas asked Aziz Akhannouch to make the Moroccan Parliament «speed up the ratification» of the fisheries agreement signed between the Kingdom and the European Union and adopted by the European Parliament on February the 12th, reports a Spanish newspaper.

The Spanish Minister wants Spain’s trawlers to join the Moroccan territorial waters as soon as possible. However, this wish is hindered by a week-long holiday of MPs in the Moroccan Parliament.

The agreement could be examined and even approved by the Lower House, but it cannot be valid unless it is voted in a plenary session. This might be possible if El Othmani’s government orders MPs to hold an extraordinary session.

Spain’s impatience

The Spanish government and shipowners will have to be patient, at least, until the second week of April, when the Moroccan parliament is expected to hold its opening session for spring. But Luis Planas’ impatience regarding the ratification of the fisheries agreement is quite understandable as the country is currently going through an electoral campaign.

The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) is competing against the right-wing parties, including the People’s Party, Ciudadanos and Vox. The party desperately needs all the votes to bring it closer to the threshold of the majority in the Lower House, which is 176 MPs.

Unlike MEPs, who took months to examine the fisheries agreements between Rabat and Brussels, Moroccan parliamentarians adopt them quickly and without any opposition. On February 10, 2014, the Moroccan Parliament unanimously approved the 2014 agreement.

Once the green light of the Parliament is given, King Mohammed VI then ratifies giving a go-ahead to the return of European trawlers.

The 2019 version will also benefit the Spanish : out of the 128 licenses granted to European boats to fish in the Atlantic waters off Morocco, 92 are reserved for the northern neighbor.

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