The European Parliament has acknowledged the positive impact that tariff preferences granted to agricultural and fisheries products from the Sahara have on these Southern provinces.

“The tariff preferences enjoyed by the territory between 2013 and 2016 had a positive impact on the agricultural and fisheries sector, investment in infrastructure, health and education. The non-application of the preferences, in turn, would have “adverse effects” said the European MPs.

The new tariff preferences provided for in the fisheries agreement would “significantly benefit local populations,” the EP said in a press release published on its website.

A proposal to lower tariffs in the Sahara to the same level as Morocco, was backed by the International Trade Committee on Monday, the EP said, indicating that the proposal was adopted by 25 votes to 9 with 2 abstentions after the European Commission and Morocco agreed on a traceability mechanism, upon the request of the Trade Committee.

In the accompanying resolution, adopted by a majority of votes, the MEPs emphasized that the local Sahrawi people have the right to develop while awaiting a political solution to the regional dispute.

The EU fully supports the UN’s ongoing efforts to secure a lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict, the press release recalled.

The EP Committee on Budgets also voted the same day in favor of the adoption of the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement.

The notice relating to this agreement and its implementation protocol, as well as the exchange of letters accompanying it, were adopted by a large majority of the members of this parliamentary committee which decides on EU budgetary matters.

The committees’ vote come a few days after the adoption of this agreement by the Council of the European Union.

The decisive vote of the INTA Committee, which decides on substantive issues, is the final step at the level of the European Parliament’s specialized committees.

The recommendation for consent has now been submitted to Plenary. Should Plenary endorse the Trade Committee recommendation, the Council will conclude the agreement, which will then enter into force.

The EP plenary is expected to take place next January.

11/12/2018