Procedure : 2018/0256M(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0478/2018

Texts tabled :

A8-0478/2018

Debates :

Votes :

PV 16/01/2019 - 12.3

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2019)0016

REPORT     
PDF 635kWORD 78k
19.12.2018
PE 627.726v03-00 A8-0478/2018

containing a motion for a non-legislative resolution on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

(10593/2018 – C8‑0463/2018 – 2018/0256M(NLE))

Committee on International Trade

Rapporteur: Marietje Schaake

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT NON-LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
 PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT NON-LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

(10593/2018 – C8‑0463/2018– 2018/0256M(NLE))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10593/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 207(4) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(i), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0463/2018),

–  having regard to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part,

–  having regard to the Agreement between the EU and Morocco concerning reciprocal liberalisation measures on agricultural products and fishery products, also referred to as the Liberalisation Agreement, which entered into force on 1 September 2013,

–  having regard to the General Court judgment (Case T-512/12) of 10 December 2015,

–  having regard to the CJEU judgment (Case C-104/16 P) of 21 December 2016,

–  having regard to Commission staff working document SWD(2018)0346 of 11 June 2018, which accompanies the proposal for a Council decision,

–  having regard to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 23 May 1969 and its Articles 34 and 36,

–  having regard to the report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara to the United Nations Security Council (S/2018/277),

–  having regard to United Nations Security Council resolution 2414 (2018) on the situation concerning Western Sahara (S/RES/2414 (2018)),

  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations, in particular to its Article 73 in Chapter XI regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union, in particular its Article 21 in Chapter 1, Title V,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular its Article 218(6)(a),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of ...(1) on the draft Council decision,

–  having regard to Rule 99(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade, the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, and the position in the form of amendments of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0478/2018),

A.  whereas the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco enjoy historical relations and maintain close cooperation developed through a broad partnership that covers political, economic and social aspects, as strengthened by the advanced status and the willingness of both parties to further develop it;

B.  whereas the Liberalisation Agreement between the EU and Morocco entered into force on 1 September 2013; whereas the Front Polisario referred the agreement to the CJEU on 19 November 2012 for violating international law in applying to the territory of Western Sahara;

C.  whereas on 10 December 2015 the first instance of the Court repealed the Council decision to conclude the Liberalisation Agreement; whereas the Council unanimously appealed this judgment on 19 February 2016;

D.  whereas the CJEU General Court in its judgment of 21 December 2016 determined that the Liberalisation Agreement did not provide a legal basis for Western Sahara to be included, and therefore could not apply to this territory;

E.   whereas paragraph 106 of the judgment states that the people of Western Sahara must be regarded as a ‘third party’ to the agreement – within the meaning of the principle of the relative effect of treaties – whose consent must be received for the implementation of the agreement to the territory; whereas, therefore, this agreement could not extend its application to the territory of Western Sahara in the absence of a further agreement;

F.  whereas operators can still export to the European Union from Western Sahara, but since 21 December 2016 tariff preferences do not apply to products originating from this territory;

G.  whereas there is insufficient information available that would enable the EU customs authorities to determine whether products exported from Morocco originate in Western Sahara, therefore preventing compliance with the CJEU ruling;

H.  whereas, following the CJEU judgment, the Council gave the Commission a mandate to modify protocols 1 and 4 of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement in order to allow for the inclusion of Western Saharan products; whereas their inclusion by definition necessitates some form of traceability to identify such products;

I.  whereas it is essential to ensure that the Agreement complies with the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 21 December 2016 in Case C-104/16P;

J.  whereas the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) consulted, in Brussels and in Rabat, elected officials and several representatives and associations of civil society from the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara;

K.  whereas Parliament considered it necessary to go and assess the situation at first hand and gain an understanding of the different views of the people; whereas it recalled the conclusions of the fact-finding INTA mission to the territory on 2 and 3 September 2018;

L.  whereas the modification of the Liberalisation Agreement takes place within a broader political and geopolitical context;

M.  whereas, following the end of Spanish colonialisation of Western Sahara, the conflict in the area has lasted for more than forty years;

N.  whereas Western Sahara is considered by the United Nations as a non-decolonised territory;

O.  whereas United Nations Security Council resolution 2440 (2018) prolonged the MINURSO mandate for an additional six-month period;

P.  whereas the EU and its Member States do not recognise the sovereignty of Morocco over the territory of Western Sahara; whereas the United Nations and the African Union recognise the Front Polisario as the representative of the people of Western Sahara;

Q.  whereas the United Nations lists Western Sahara as a Non-Self-Governing Territory for the purposes of Article 73 of its Charter;

1.  Recalls that Morocco is a privileged EU partner in the Southern Neighbourhood, with which the EU has built up a strong, strategic and long-lasting partnership that covers political, economic and social aspects, as well as security and migration; highlights that Morocco has been granted advanced status within the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP);

2.  Stresses that it is important for this agreement to give guarantees regarding respect for international law, including human rights, and to comply with the relevant ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union;

3.  Recalls the obligation under Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) for the EU and its Member States to respect the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law; underlines, in this respect, that Article 2 of the UN Charter includes respect for the principle of the self-determination of peoples;

4.  Recalls that, according to Article 21 of the TEU, the Union’s action on the international scene shall be guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law;

5.  Stresses that this agreement does not imply any form of recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, presently listed by the United Nations as a non-self-governing territory, large parts of which are currently administered by the Kingdom of Morocco, and insists that the EU’s position remains that of supporting UN efforts to secure a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict in Western Sahara that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, in accordance with international law, the UN Charter and the relevant UN resolutions; reiterates, therefore, its full support to the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Mr Horst Köhler, in helping to bring the parties back to the UN negotiation table in order to achieve this settlement; calls on the parties to resume these negotiations without preconditions and in good faith; emphasises that ratification of the amended Liberalisation Agreement between the EU and Morocco has to be strictly without prejudice to the outcome of the peace process over Western Sahara;

6.  Points out that a meeting of the parties involved in the conflict was held in Geneva in early December on the initiative of the UN and with the participation of Algeria and Mauritania, and hopes that meeting will help kick-start the peace process;

7.  Recognises the two conditions set in the CJEU judgment, to explicitly mention Western Sahara in the Agreement text and to obtain the consent of the people, as well as the third criterion added by the Council which is the need to ensure that it benefits the local population;

8.  Stresses, as stated in the Commission report, that all reasonable and feasible steps have been taken to inquire about the consent of the population concerned, through these inclusive consultations;

9.  Underlines that throughout the consultation process the Commission and the EEAS maintained regular contact with the team of the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara to ensure that the proposed agreement supports UN efforts to achieve a lasting settlement;

10.  Takes note of the legitimate interests of the people in the territory and believes that a respected and accepted end to the ongoing conflict is required for the territory’s economic development; is, at the same time, convinced that the Sahrawi people has the right to develop while awaiting a political solution;

11.  Notes, in talks with various local actors and civil society representatives, that some parties express their support to the agreement by defending their right to economic development, while others consider that the settlement of the political conflict should precede the granting of trade preferences; notes that, during inclusive consultations led by the Commission and the European External Action service (EEAS) with a range of Western Saharan organisations and other organisations and bodies, majority support was expressed, by the parties participating, for the socio-economic benefits the proposed tariff preferences would bring;

12.  Recalls that the CJEU did not specify in its judgment how the people’s consent has to be expressed and considers therefore that some uncertainty remains as regards this criterion;

13.  Recognises that the agreement can lead to the promotion of social and sustainable development which makes a key contribution to current economic, social and environmental development and to the potential creation of both low- and high-skilled local employment opportunities; notes that an estimated 59 000 or so jobs are dependent on exports, corresponding to roughly 10 % of the population living in the territory;

14.  Believes that the EU tariff preferences have had a positive impact on the agricultural and fisheries products sectors and their export levels in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara; calls, however, for caution in checking that these produce local value added, are locally re-invested, and provide decent work opportunities for the local population;

15.  Is convinced that, notwithstanding the outcome of the peace process, the local population will profit from economic development and the spill-over effects created in terms of investment in infrastructure, employment, health and education;

16.  Acknowledges the existing investment in several sectors, and the endeavours to develop green technologies such as renewables and the seawater desalination plant, but insists that further efforts are necessary to ensure increased inclusion in all parts of the local economy;

17.  Recognises business initiatives by Sahrawis, especially those coming from young people, many of whom are women, and highlights their need for extended export opportunities and legal certainty in order to allow for further investment in sectors with high employment demand, such as agriculture, fisheries and infrastructure;

18.  Recognises the strategic potential of Western Sahara as an investment hub for the rest of the African continent;

19.  Warns of the adverse effects of the non-application of tariff preferences on products from the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara, and the message this sends to the younger generation investing or willing to invest in the territory and its potential to develop it; underlines the risk of activities being relocated to regions where they would benefit from the preferences; notes that, according to the Commission, the non-application of tariff preferences could worsen the economic and social situation of the local population in the territories concerned;

20.  Is convinced that an EU presence through, inter alia, this agreement is preferable to withdrawal when it comes to engagement in promoting and monitoring of human rights and individual freedoms, and demands a rigorous assessment and dialogue with Morocco on these issues;

21.  Recalls that other parts of the world that have a less ambitious approach to sustainable development, high labour and social standards and human rights are knocking on the door for new trade opportunities and will gain increased influence wherever the EU withdraws;

22.  Highlights that the EU’s ongoing engagement in the territory will have a positive leverage effect on its sustainable development;

23.  Underlines that legal certainty is essential to attract sustainable and long-term investment in the territory and hence for the dynamism and diversification of the local economy;

24.  Recalls that, since the CJEU judgment, Member States cannot legally apply trade preferences to products from the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara and that the legal uncertainty affecting economic operators has to come to an end;

25.  Is aware and very concerned that, until now, it has been extremely difficult to identify which products are exported from the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara;

26.  Emphasises that a key criterion for Parliament before giving its consent to the agreement is to ensure that a mechanism will be put in place for Member States’ customs authorities to have access to reliable information on products originating in Western Sahara and imported into the EU, in full compliance with EU customs legislation; emphasises that such a mechanism will make available detailed and disaggregated statistical data provided timely on such exports; recognises the efforts made by the Commission and Morocco to try to find a solution to this request and calls on them to implement such a mechanism; calls on the Commission to use all corrective measures available should the implementation of the agreement not be satisfactory;

27.  Highlights that, without this agreement in force, including the mechanism allowing for the identification of products, it will be impossible to know whether, and how many, products originating in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara are entering the European market;

28.  Emphasises that the implementation of the provision agreed between the EU and Morocco on the annual mutual exchange of information and statistics concerning products covered by the Exchange of Letters is necessary to evaluate the scope of the Agreement and its impact on development and local populations;

29.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to closely monitor the implementation and result of the agreement and to regularly report their findings to Parliament;

30.  Points out that the EU and Morocco have negotiated, as set out in the initial agreement concluded in 2012, an ambitious and comprehensive agreement on protecting the geographical indications and designations of origin of agricultural products, processed agricultural products, fish and fishery products that provides for the protection by Morocco of the full list of the EU’s geographical indications; points out, furthermore, that the procedure for concluding the agreement, which began in 2015, was suspended following the Court’s judgment of 21 December 2016; calls on the EU and Morocco to resume that procedure immediately and to return swiftly to the DCFTA negotiations;

31.  Emphasises that the preferential treatment granted for certain Moroccan fruit and vegetable exports to the EU under the agreement of 8 March 2012 concerning reciprocal liberalisation measures on agricultural products, processed agricultural products, fish and fishery products is a particularly sensitive matter for Europe’s horticulture industry;

32.  Emphasises that access to the EU’s internal market by all third countries should comply with EU sanitary, phytosanitary, traceability and environmental rules and standards;

33.  Asks the Commission to promote equivalency of measures and controls between Morocco and the European Union in the area of sanitary, phytosanitary, traceability and environmental standards as well as labelling of origin rules, in order to guarantee fair competition between the two markets;

34.  Recalls that the updated agreement does not alter the tariff rate quotas and the preferential import regime previously established, and only provides European producers with clarification on the geographical scope of the agreement;

35.  Draws attention to the fact that some of the fruit and vegetables exported preferentially to the EU under the terms of the agreement in question (including tomatoes and melons) come from the territory of Western Sahara, and points out that ambitious plans have been drawn up with a view to further developing such production and exports;

36.  Takes note, nevertheless, of the clarification that the new agreement provides, and hopes that it will be able henceforth to provide a clear, stable framework between the parties of this agreement and for the economic operators concerned on both sides of the Mediterranean;

37.  Notes that the monitoring of sensitive agricultural products and the strict application of quotas are fundamental to the balanced functioning of the agreement; points out that Article 7 of Protocol 1 to the 2012 Agreement contains a safeguard clause making it possible for appropriate steps to be taken where imports of large quantities of agricultural products classed as sensitive under the agreement cause serious market distortion and/or serious harm to the industry concerned; hopes that preferential imports into the EU of sensitive agricultural products from Morocco and Western Sahara will be subject to appropriate and broad monitoring by the Commission, and that the Commission will still be ready to activate immediately the aforementioned clause where an established need arises;

38.  Takes note of the fact that EU fishing vessels operating in the waters concerned are legally obliged to have a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and that it is mandatory to transmit the position of a vessel to the Moroccan authorities, making it fully possible to track the vessels and to record where their fishing activities take place;

39.  Calls on the EU to step up efforts to foster regional cooperation among the Maghreb countries, which can only have tremendous positive implications for the region and beyond;

40.  Points to the strategic need for the EU to engage more closely with the countries in the Maghreb region and develop its ties with them; views the extension of the Association Agreement in this context as a logical component of this strategy;

41.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(0000)0000.


OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (21.11.2018)

for the Committee on International Trade

on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of the agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

(2018/0256M(NLE))

Rapporteur for opinion: Anders Primdahl Vistisen

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Foreign Affairs calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Recalls that Morocco is a privileged EU partner in the Southern Neighbourhood, with which the EU has built up a strong, strategic and long-lasting partnership that covers political, economic and social aspects, as well as security and migration; highlights that Morocco has been granted advanced status within the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP);

2.  Stresses that it is important for this agreement to give guarantees regarding respect for international law, including human rights, and to comply with the relevant ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union;

3.  Recalls the obligation under Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) for the EU and its Member States to respect the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law; underlines, in this respect, that Article 2 of the UN Charter includes respect for the principle of the self-determination of peoples;

4.  Stresses that this agreement does not imply any form of recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, presently listed by the United Nations as a non-self-governing territory, large parts of which are currently administered by the Kingdom of Morocco, and insists that the EU’s position remains that of supporting UN efforts to secure a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict in Western Sahara that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, in accordance with international law, the UN Charter and the relevant UN resolutions; reiterates, therefore, its full support to the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Mr Horst Köhler, in helping to bring the parties back to the UN negotiation table in order to achieve this settlement; calls on the parties to resume these negotiations without preconditions and in good faith;

5.  Points out that a meeting of the parties involved in the conflict is to be held in Geneva in early December on the initiative of the UN and with the participation of Algeria and Mauritania, and hopes that meeting will help kick-start the peace process;

6.  Notes that during inclusive consultations led by the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) with a range of Western Saharan political and socio-economic actors, civil society organisations and other organisations and bodies, majority support was expressed, by the parties participating, for the socio-economic benefits the proposed tariff preferences would bring; notes that, according to the Commission, the non-implementation of tariff preferences could deteriorate the economic and social situation of the local population in the concerned territories;

7.  Stresses, as stated in the Commission report, that all reasonable and feasible steps have been taken to inquire about the consent of the population concerned, through these inclusive consultations;

8.  Underlines that throughout the consultation process the Commission and the EEAS maintained regular contact with the team of the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara to ensure that the proposed agreement supports UN efforts to achieve a lasting settlement;

9.  Calls on the EU to step up efforts to foster regional cooperation among the Maghreb countries, which can only have tremendous positive implications for the region and beyond;

10.  Points to the strategic need for the EU to engage more closely with the countries in the Maghreb region and develop its ties with them; views the extension of the Association Agreement in this context as a logical component of this strategy;

11.  Takes note of the exchange of letters and acknowledges the efforts of the Commission and the EEAS in trying, within the remit of their competences, to evaluate the benefit for the population and to ascertain their consent to this agreement; notes that the agreement provides for a mutual and regular exchange of information between the EU and Morocco; invites the Commission services to set up, with the Moroccan authorities, the best mechanism to technically collect information on products coming from Western Sahara;

12.  Recalls that, according to Article 21 of the TEU, the Union’s action on the international scene shall be guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms and respect for the principles of the United Nation Charter and international law; notes therefore that consent can only be given when a clear intention to improve the human rights situation is shown.

PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Title

Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

References

2018/0256M(NLE)

Committee responsible

 

INTA

 

 

 

 

Opinion by

Date announced in plenary

AFET

13.9.2018

Rapporteur

Date appointed

Anders Primdahl Vistisen

20.6.2018

Date adopted

21.11.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

43

15

2

Members present for the final vote

Michèle Alliot-Marie, Nikos Androulakis, Petras Auštrevičius, Bas Belder, Victor Boştinaru, Elmar Brok, Klaus Buchner, James Carver, Lorenzo Cesa, Georgios Epitideios, Eugen Freund, Michael Gahler, Iveta Grigule-Pēterse, Sandra Kalniete, Tunne Kelam, Wajid Khan, Andrey Kovatchev, Eduard Kukan, Arne Lietz, Sabine Lösing, Andrejs Mamikins, David McAllister, Francisco José Millán Mon, Javier Nart, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Demetris Papadakis, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Alojz Peterle, Tonino Picula, Kati Piri, Julia Pitera, Cristian Dan Preda, Jozo Radoš, Michel Reimon, Sofia Sakorafa, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, Anders Sellström, Alyn Smith, Jordi Solé, Dobromir Sośnierz, Jaromír Štětina, Dubravka Šuica, Charles Tannock, László Tőkés, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Ivo Vajgl, Anders Primdahl Vistisen

Substitutes present for the final vote

Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Ana Gomes, Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Marek Jurek, Antonio López-Istúriz White, David Martin, Gilles Pargneaux, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Marietje Schaake, Eleni Theocharous, Bodil Valero, Mirja Vehkaperä, Željana Zovko

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

43

+

ALDE

Petras Auštrevičius, Iveta Grigule-Pēterse, Javier Nart, Jozo Radoš, Marietje Schaake, Mirja Vehkaperä

ECR

Bas Belder, Marek Jurek, Charles Tannock, Eleni Theocharous, Anders Primdahl Vistisen

ENF

Jean-Luc Schaffhauser

PPE

Michèle Alliot-Marie, Elmar Brok, Lorenzo Cesa, Michael Gahler, Sandra Kalniete, Tunne Kelam, Andrey Kovatchev, Eduard Kukan, Antonio López-Istúriz White, David McAllister, Francisco José Millán Mon, Alojz Peterle, Julia Pitera, Cristian Dan Preda, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Anders Sellström, Jaromír Štětina, Dubravka Šuica, László Tőkés, Željana Zovko

S&D

Nikos Androulakis, Victor Boştinaru, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Wajid Khan, Andrejs Mamikins, David Martin, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Demetris Papadakis, Gilles Pargneaux, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Tonino Picula

15

-

ALDE

Ivo Vajgl

GUE/NGL

Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Sabine Lösing, Sofia Sakorafa, Miguel Urbán Crespo

NI

Georgios Epitideios, Dobromir Sośnierz

S&D

Eugen Freund, Ana Gomes, Kati Piri

VERTS/ALE

Klaus Buchner, Michel Reimon, Alyn Smith, Jordi Solé, Bodil Valero

2

0

NI

James Carver

S&D

Arne Lietz

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention


OPINION of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (14.11.2018)

for the Committee on International Trade

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

(2018/0256M(NLE))

Rapporteur for opinion: Michel Dantin

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Emphasises that the preferential treatment granted for certain Moroccan fruit and vegetable exports to the EU under the agreement of 8 March 2012 concerning reciprocal liberalisation measures on agricultural products, processed agricultural products, fish and fishery products is a particularly sensitive matter for Europe’s horticulture industry;

2.  Emphasises, furthermore, that in its opinion adopted on 13 July 2011 as part of the consent procedure in Parliament relating to the agreement, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development recommended that consent should not be given;

3.  Notes that most of the concerns expressed in the opinion voted in 2011 are, from the point of view of the European horticulture industry, still relevant today, in what is a difficult and volatile period for the industry, as a result of, among other things, the ongoing Russian embargo and the continued use of European agriculture as a bargaining chip in international trade negotiations;

4.  Emphasises that access to the EU’s internal market by all third countries should comply with EU sanitary, phytosanitary, traceability and environmental rules and standards;

5.  Emphasises that there are still major competitiveness issues and risks of market distortions for European producers owing to the wide divergences compared with Moroccan producers in terms of overall production costs, working conditions, and sanitary, phytosanitary and environmental standards;

6.  Asks the Commission to promote equivalency of measures and controls between Morocco and the European Union in the area of sanitary, phytosanitary, traceability and environmental standards as well as labelling of origin rules, in order to guarantee fair competition between the two markets;

7.  Recalls that the updated agreement does not alter the tariff rate quotas and the preferential import regime previously established, and only provides European producers with clarification on the geographical scope of the agreement;

8.  Regrets the fact that the provisions adopted in Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 (single CMO) with a view to overcoming problems encountered in the correct application of the entry prices of fruit and vegetable imports from Morocco are becoming ineffective for the higher categories, the so-called ‘baby’ varieties, which have much higher marketing prices but are attributed a standard product value upon entry to the EU, as is the case with cherry tomatoes; calls on the Commission to put an end to this anomaly;

9.  Draws attention to the fact that some of the fruit and vegetables exported preferentially to the EU under the terms of the agreement in question (including tomatoes and melons) come from the territory of Western Sahara, and points out that ambitious plans have been drawn up with a view to further developing such production and exports;

10.  Regrets the legal uncertainty that has arisen since the Court of Justice judgment of 21 December 2016; is concerned that the Commission has been unable to provide reliable and detailed data on preferential imports of products from Western Sahara that may have been carried out since that date, in spite of the judgment in question; wonders what the cost has been to the EU budget of any preferences granted during the period concerned without a valid legal basis; in the absence of sufficient comparative information, is doubtful whether the Commission is able to assess the impact of the proposed new agreement properly and therefore calls for swift implementation of the exchange of information provided for in the exchange of letters;

11.  Takes note, nevertheless, of the clarification that the new agreement provides, and hopes that it will be able henceforth to provide a clear, stable framework between the parties of this agreement and for the economic operators concerned on both sides of the Mediterranean;

12.  Is doubtful whether the distinction drawn in the new agreement between products from the Sahara and those from Morocco is relevant from a customs and trade perspective, setting the obvious political aspects aside; notes, in particular, that in the new agreement there is no allocation of the tariff rate quotas laid down in the initial agreement, and that, in terms of access to the preferences granted by the EU, it will therefore not make any difference whatsoever whether or not products are of Sahrawi origin;

13.  Notes that the monitoring of sensitive agricultural products and the strict application of quotas are fundamental to the balanced functioning of the agreement; points out that Article 7 of Protocol 1 to the 2012 Agreement contains a safeguard clause making it possible for appropriate steps to be taken where imports of large quantities of agricultural products classed as sensitive under the agreement cause serious market distortion and/or serious harm to the industry concerned; hopes that preferential imports into the EU of sensitive agricultural products from Morocco and Western Sahara will be subject to appropriate and broad monitoring by the Commission, and that the Commission will still be ready to activate immediately the aforementioned clause where an established need arises;

14.  Points out that the EU and Morocco have negotiated, as set out in the initial agreement concluded in 2012, an ambitious and comprehensive agreement on protecting the geographical indications and designations of origin of agricultural products, processed agricultural products, fish and fishery products that provides for the protection by Morocco of the full list of the EU’s geographical indications; points out, furthermore, that the procedure for concluding the agreement, which began in 2015, was suspended following the Court’s judgment of 21 December 2016; calls for that procedure to be resumed immediately and finalised as soon as possible in conjunction with the conclusion of the agreement considered in this opinion;

15.  Calls on the Commission to meet with Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development as soon as possible to give a presentation on the current state of play of agricultural trade between the EU and Morocco, including an assessment of the impact of the agreement on European producers, and particularly on farmers’ incomes, and a presentation on the forthcoming conclusion of the agreement on geographical indications.

PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Title

Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

References

2018/0256M(NLE)

Committee responsible

 

INTA

 

 

 

 

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

AGRI

13.9.2018

Rapporteur

       Date appointed

Michel Dantin

30.8.2018

Date adopted

12.11.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

23

8

2

Members present for the final vote

John Stuart Agnew, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Eric Andrieu, José Bové, Daniel Buda, Matt Carthy, Jacques Colombier, Michel Dantin, Paolo De Castro, Albert Deß, Diane Dodds, Norbert Erdős, Luke Ming Flanagan, Karine Gloanec Maurin, Martin Häusling, Peter Jahr, Jarosław Kalinowski, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Norbert Lins, Philippe Loiseau, Giulia Moi, Ulrike Müller, Maria Noichl, Marijana Petir, Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez, Czesław Adam Siekierski, Tibor Szanyi, Maria Gabriela Zoană, Marco Zullo

Substitutes present for the final vote

Franc Bogovič, Angélique Delahaye, Anthea McIntyre, Momchil Nekov, Hilde Vautmans, Miguel Viegas, Thomas Waitz

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

23

+

ALDE

Ulrike Müller, Hilde Vautmans

ECR

Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Anthea McIntyre

EFDD

John Stuart Agnew, Marco Zullo

ENF

Jacques Colombier, Philippe Loiseau

NI

Diane Dodds

PPE

Franc Bogovič, Daniel Buda, Michel Dantin, Angélique Delahaye, Albert Deß, Norbert Erdős, Peter Jahr, Norbert Lins, Marijana Petir, Czesław Adam Siekierski

S&D

Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Paolo De Castro, Karine Gloanec Maurin, Maria Gabriela Zoană

8

-

GUE/NGL

Matt Carthy, Luke Ming Flanagan, Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez, Miguel Viegas

S&D

Maria Noichl

VERTS/ALE

José Bové, Martin Häusling, Thomas Waitz

2

0

EFDD

Giulia Moi

S&D

Eric Andrieu

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

27.11.2018

POSITION IN THE FORM OF AMENDMENTS

of the Committee on Fisheries

for the Committee on International Trade

on the motion for a non-legislative resolution on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of the agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

(2018/0256M(NLE))

On behalf of the Committee on Fisheries: Nils Torvalds (rapporteur)

Position

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Fisheries presents the following amendments to the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible:

Amendment    1

Motion for a resolution

Paragraph 18

Motion for a resolution

Amendment

18.  Is deeply concerned that is basically impossible to identify which products are exported from the non-autonomous territory of Western Sahara;

18.  Is deeply concerned that it is basically impossible to identify which products are exported from the non-autonomous territory of Western Sahara, with the exception of fisheries products from the Western Sahara area determined by the Convention on the Law of the Sea rules on territorial and adjacent waters and EEZs, which can be easily traced throughout the chain;

Amendment    2

Motion for a resolution

Paragraph (new)

Motion for a resolution

Amendment

 

Recalls the CJEU judgment of 27 February 2018 (Case C-266/16) on the Fisheries Agreement and the Protocol – which was in force from 15 July 2014 to 14 July 2018 – between the EU and Morocco, stating that the Agreement is valid with regard to Moroccan waters but that it cannot include Western Sahara and its adjacent waters;

Amendment    3

Motion for a resolution

Paragraph (new)

Motion for a resolution

Amendment

 

Takes note of the fact that EU fishing vessels operating in the waters concerned are legally obliged to have a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and that it is mandatory to transmit the position of a vessel to the Moroccan authorities, making it fully possible to track the vessels and to record where their fishing activities take place;

Amendment    4

Motion for a resolution

Paragraph (new)

Motion for a resolution

Amendment

 

Invites the customs authorities of the Member States to implement all the administrative cooperation mechanisms provided for in Title V of Protocol No 4 in the event of doubts as to the actual source (Saharawi or Moroccan) of the goods presented for import;

Amendment    5

Motion for a resolution

Paragraph (new)

Motion for a resolution

Amendment

 

Emphasises that a precondition for Parliament to give its consent to the agreement is to ensure that there will be a mechanism in place to trace products, including fisheries products, from Western Sahara or its adjacent waters, so that Member States’ customs authorities, as well as consumers, have a clear indication of their origin; calls for the EU and Morocco to swiftly present a viable solution to this end; expects the Commission to present proposals to achieve this objective;

Amendment    6

Motion for a resolution

Paragraph (new)

Motion for a resolution

Amendment

 

Notes that under the agreement, ‘products originating in Western Sahara subject to controls by the Moroccan customs authorities’ benefit from the trade preferences under this agreement, and therefore that fishery products processed in the part of Western Sahara outside Moroccan control may not benefit from tariff preferences; expects the Commission to clarify the territorial scope of the agreement and to ensure that fishing sector operators in, and fishery products from, the part of Western Sahara outside Moroccan control are not discriminated against as a result of this agreement;

Amendment    7

Motion for a resolution

Paragraph (new)

Motion for a resolution

Amendment

 

Deplores the legal uncertainty that has resulted from the judgment of the Court of Justice of 21 December 2016; is concerned about the Commission’s inability to provide reliable data on preferential imports of fishery products from Western Sahara that may have occurred since that date despite the judgment in question; questions the extent of the damage to the Union budget of any preferences granted without a valid legal basis during this period;


PROCEDURE – COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Title

Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco on the amendment of Protocols 1 and 4 to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part

References

2018/0256M(NLE)

Date of consultation / request for consent

6.9.2018

 

 

 

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

INTA

13.9.2018

 

 

 

Committees asked for opinions

       Date announced in plenary

AFET

13.9.2018

AGRI

13.9.2018

PECH

13.9.2018

 

Rapporteurs

       Date appointed

Marietje Schaake

10.12.2018

 

 

 

Previous rapporteurs

Patricia Lalonde

 

 

 

Discussed in committee

5.11.2018

 

 

 

Date adopted

10.12.2018

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

24

9

3

Members present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Maria Arena, Tiziana Beghin, David Borrelli, Daniel Caspary, Salvatore Cicu, Karoline Graswander-Hainz, Christophe Hansen, France Jamet, Elsi Katainen, Jude Kirton-Darling, Bernd Lange, Anne-Marie Mineur, Sorin Moisă, Alessia Maria Mosca, Franck Proust, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Tokia Saïfi, Marietje Schaake, Helmut Scholz, Joachim Schuster, Joachim Starbatty, Adam Szejnfeld, Iuliu Winkler

Substitutes present for the final vote

Sajjad Karim, Gabriel Mato, Georg Mayer, Ralph Packet, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Jarosław Wałęsa

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Paloma López Bermejo, Javier Nart, Anders Sellström, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Marco Zullo

Date tabled

20.12.2018


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

24

+

ALDE

Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Elsi Katainen, Javier Nart, Marietje Schaake

ECR

Sajjad Karim, Ralph Packet, Joachim Starbatty

EFDD

Tiziana Beghin, Marco Zullo

PPE

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Daniel Caspary, Salvatore Cicu, Christophe Hansen, Gabriel Mato, Sorin Moisă, Franck Proust, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Tokia Saïfi, Adam Szejnfeld, Jarosław Wałęsa, Iuliu Winkler

S&D

Bernd Lange, Alessia Maria Mosca, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández

9

-

ENF

France Jamet

GUE/NGL

Paloma López Bermejo, Anne-Marie Mineur, Helmut Scholz, Miguel Urbán Crespo

S&D

Maria Arena, Karoline Graswander-Hainz, Jude Kirton-Darling, Joachim Schuster

3

0

ENF

Georg Mayer

NI

David Borrelli

PPE

Anders Sellström

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 7 January 2019Legal notice