Keith TAYLOR : Written explanations of vote 

Members can submit a written explanation of their vote in plenary. Rule 183

State of play of negotiations with the United Kingdom (B8-0676/2017, B8-0677/2017)  

. – Today, I abstained in the vote on the state of play of negotiations with the UK. I did so because in all conscience I do not believe that sufficient progress has been made affecting the island of Ireland.
The joint report of the UK and the EU talks of an ‘intention’ to protect North-South cooperation and to avoid a hard border between the two – and if this is impossible through an overall EU-UK relationship, then through full alignment with those single market and customs union (SMCU) rules which support North-South cooperation.
What this means in effect is that the UK position is saying it will leave the SMCU (which inevitably means that there will be a hard border, which is unacceptable to the Irish Government and therefore the EU27), or that there will be full alignment with CU/SM (which is unacceptable to the DUP, on whose support the Conservatives depend).
I do not recognise that intent as either achievable or sufficient.
I accept some progress has been made on the financial settlement, but many citizens’ rights issues remain unresolved. At least the second phase of discussions will enable development of legal texts for the withdrawal agreement.

EU-Morocco Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement (A8-0303/2017 - Dominique Riquet)  

Regrettably, the Greens/EFA group had to vote against the Riquet report on the EU-Morocco Aviation Agreement on 24 October 2017, due to the unsatisfactory statement of the Commission in plenary prior to the vote.
The Commission confirmed that this Agreement applies to the territory of Western Sahara and that its wording and geographic scope mirrors that of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement in its territorial application.
The arguments put forward by the Commission are unconvincing since the Aviation Agreement applies to the territory of and the airspace above Western Sahara, and not to the maritime waters of the latter. Dakhla and Laayoune Airports are located on this territory.
The Aviation Agreement fails to comply with the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of 21 December 2016, Polisario vs Council, which required the EU to consider Western Sahara and Morocco as two distinct and separate territories. Moreover, the Commission did not demonstrate that it had secured the consent of the people of Western Sahara to this Agreement, as also required by the CJEU.
We call on the Council to take urgent corrective action to conform with European law and to respect the territorial integrity of Western Sahara.


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