Procedure : 2011/0139(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0394/2011

Texts tabled :

A7-0394/2011

Debates :

PV 12/12/2011 - 13
CRE 12/12/2011 - 13

Votes :

PV 14/12/2011 - 7.4
CRE 14/12/2011 - 7.4
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0569

RECOMMENDATION     ***
PDF 194kWORD 118k
29 November 2011
PE 472.260v04-00 A7-0394/2011

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco

(11226/2011 – C7-0201/2011 – 2011/0139(NLE))

Committee on Fisheries

Rapporteur: Carl Haglund

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Budgets
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco

(11226/2011 – C7-0201/2011 – 2011/0139(NLE))

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the draft Council decision (11226/2011),

–   having regard to the draft Protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco (11225/2011),

–   having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C7-0201/2011),

–   having regard to Rules 81 and 90(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Development (A7-0394/2011),

1.  Consents to conclusion of the Protocol;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Kingdom of Morocco.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Introduction

The Kingdom of Morocco is a country located in North Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and Algeria to the east, and the disputed area of Western Sahara to the south. The population of Morocco is about 32 million. The service sector accounts for over half of GDP with industry adding another quarter and agriculture little over one-tenth. Tourism, telecoms, information technology and textile sectors have recently recorded the highest growth.

The Association agreement between the European Union and Morocco entered into force in 2000. This agreement constitutes the general framework for relations between the EU and Morocco in political, economic, social, scientific and cultural fields. Morocco is currently a privileged partner of the European Union and the greatest recipient of European Union funds under the European Neighbourhood Policy. The EU is Morocco's most important export market, its leading public and private external investor and its most important tourism market.

The fishing industry has been an important economic pillar for Morocco for a long time and the country is considered to be the largest fish market in Africa. The fisheries sector accounts for about 3% of GDP and the Moroccan government estimates the number of direct and indirect jobs at around 400 000.

The European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco concluded a Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) on 22 May 2006(1), which entered into force on 28 February 2007. On the basis of a mandate from the Council, the European Commission conducted negotiations with the Kingdom of Morocco on the renewal of the Protocol to the FPA by one year, following the expiry of the initial Protocol. A Protocol renewing the preceding Protocol for the period of 28 February 2011 to 27 February 2012 was initialled on 25 February 2011. The one-year extension is now provisionally applied but the Council still needs the consent of the European Parliament to adopt the new Protocol. Of all the Fisheries Partnership Agreements, the Protocol to the Agreement with Morocco has the second highest rate of annual financial compensation from the EU.

Content of the Protocol

Duration of the Agreement

4 years renewable (28.2.2011-27.2.2015)

Duration of the Protocol

4 years (28.2.2007-27.2.2011) + 1 year (28.2.2011-27.2.2012), subject to ratification

Initialled

29 July 2005 + 25 February 2011

Nature of the Agreement

Mixed Agreement 

Financial contribution

36 100 000 € per year, out of which 13 500 000 € is earmarked for the support of Moroccan sectoral fisheries policy in order to promote sustainability in its waters

Fee for ship owners

Tuna: 25 € per tonne caught

Small scale fishing/north, pelagic species: 67 €/GT/quarter

Small scale fishing/north, long-liners: 60 €/GT/quarter

Industrial fishing for pelagic species: 20 €/tn

Demersal fishing: 53 €/Gt/quarter

Small scale fishing/south: 60 €/GT/quarter

Advances

Tuna fishing: 5000 € per year

The Protocol lays out the fishing opportunities offered to the European Union vessels based on the surplus available, as well as the financial contribution paid by the EU for access rights and for sectoral support. Another function of the Protocol is to provide a general partnership framework between the two parties, within which a sustainable fisheries policy is to be developed.

The overall annual financial contribution that Morocco receives from the European Union is EUR 36 100 000. It is based on:

a)  a maximum of 119 fishing permits for EU vessels in the categories of small-scale fishing, demersal fishing and tuna fishing, as well as a maximum catch tonnage of 60 000 tonnes in the category of industrial pelagic fishing, and

b)  EUR 13 500 000 in development aid for Morocco's sectoral fisheries policy. This support meets the objectives of the national fisheries policy.

The Protocol provides for fishing opportunities in the following six categories:

­ Small-scale pelagic fishing in the north: 20 seiners

­ Small-scale fishing in the north: 30 bottom longliners

­ Small-scale fishing in the south: 20 vessels

­ Demersal fishing: 22 vessels

­ Tuna fishing: 27 vessels

­ Industrial pelagic fishing: 60 000 tonnes of catches.

Rapporteur's comments and conclusions

An outside consultancy prepared an ex-post evaluation report, on behalf of the European Commission, which evaluates the first four years of the FPA with Morocco. It highlights some very distressing facts about many aspects of the previous Protocol, the extension of which is the subject of this recommendation.

On a general note, it states that "the results of this first 4-year period of the new fisheries partnership agreement between the EU and Morocco are generally rather disappointing". There are numerous problems relating to the economical aspects of the Agreement. According to the evaluation report, the Agreement fails to fulfil two of its major objectives: stabilising the EU market and developing the fisheries sector. When it comes to meeting the overall annual demand for fisheries and aquaculture products on the European market the contribution of the Agreement is "marginal to say the least". The report also states that the Agreement has "not contributed effectively to the development of the fisheries sector in Morocco".

There is a very low cost-benefit ratio due to low utilisation of the fishing opportunities negotiated. The evaluation states that:

the cost of the agreement seems very high in relation to the fisheries opportunities that have actually been taken up. The European fleets' estimated turnover is EUR 30.2 million, i.e., a mere EUR 0.83 for every euro invested by the EU. Using only the indicator of wealth created by European vessel owners subject to the agreement (direct and indirect added value for the EU), an even less impressive cost/benefit ratio for the EU investment emerges: EUR 0.65 in added value generated for every euro invested. These figures... are well below the level of the corresponding indicators for other fisheries agreements.

These figures clearly show the inefficiency of this Agreement from a financial perspective. It is concluded in the evaluation report that in terms of economic cost-effectiveness, the Agreement is the least successful of all the bilateral Fisheries Partnership Agreements.

There are also ecological issues of concern with the Agreement. Of the 11 demersal stocks fished in the Moroccan waters, five appear overexploited (European hake, pageot acarné, octopus, squid, pink prawn), four appear fully exploited (porgy, large-eye dentext, dorade, rubber-lip grunt) while two stocks could not be sufficiently analysed due to lack of data (black hake, calmar). The almost total depletion of these stocks begs the question whether the principle of EU vessels only fishing surplus stocks is adhered to. The fishing activities off the coast of Morocco also have adverse impacts on the environment, most notably through the widespread problem of discards, catches of sharks and probable catches of marine mammals by pelagic trawlers.

The Agreement has little impact on the Moroccan fisheries sector. The evaluation report clearly states that the Agreement has "not contributed effectively to the development of the fisheries sector in Morocco". It also states that the Agreement does not meet the specific needs of Morocco, neither technically or financially. The financial contribution of the EU has no major macro-economic effect on the Moroccan budget.

In addition to the aforementioned economical, ecological, environmental and other shortcomings of the Protocol, there are disputed legal issues with regards to Western Sahara. In the case of this Agreement, the issue at hand concerns whether or not the Agreement directly benefits the Sahrawi people. The relevant documentation concerning the Protocol does not clarify this sensitive question.

The rapporteur has also found it difficult to work with the European Commission when drafting this recommendation. The official referral (saisine) to the Council and Parliament concerning the extension of the Protocol did not arrive in the Parliament until the beginning of June 2011, three months after the Protocol was put into force. The ex-post evaluation report was originally only available in French, and despite numerous promises from the Commissioner and her cabinet, an English translation was not made available to the rapporteur until July. At this point the Protocol had already been in force for four months. The lack of inter-institutional cooperation has obstructed the rapporteur's work through the entire process of preparing this draft recommendation. Hopefully this was an anomaly rather than an indicator of how the Commission intends to work with the Parliament in the future.

The outdrawn nature of this entire process has put the fishermen concerned in a rather distressing position, because of the uncertainty of the future. However, at the time of publication of this recommendation, there will at least two months before the final vote can take place in plenary. This gives the fishing industry time to prepare for a possible termination of the Protocol. Moreover, if the vote in plenary takes place in December, almost 85 % of the duration of the Protocol has already passed and a lion's share of the fishing opportunities will have been utilized. The aforementioned economical, ecological, environmental and procedural problems with the Agreement are so grave that they outweigh the possible counterargument for giving consent to the extension of the Protocol.

In conclusion, it is very important to state that even though this Agreement clearly has some major faults, it in no way implies that the EU could not have a mutually beneficial FPA with Morocco in the future. Cooperation with Moroccan authorities has, throughout the process of preparing this recommendation, been highly satisfactory. The problems with this Agreement cannot be blamed on the partner country but rather on the Agreement itself. However, as the Agreement stands right now it would be principally wrong to recommend that the Parliament gives its consent to the extension of a Protocol with so many apparent flaws. There are no reasons for the Parliament to give its consent on the extension of a Protocol to an Agreement that is a waste of taxpayers' money, ecologically and environmentally unsustainable and that has no significant macro-economic effect on either the EU or Morocco. The rapporteur therefore recommends that the Parliament declines to give its consent to an extension of the Protocol.

Unfortunately, the result of the vote in the PECH committee on 22 November 2011 does not reflect the rapporteur's opinion. It does, furthermore, not reflect the two opinions of the development and the budget committee. The rapporteur regrets that consequently the recommendation by the PECH committee is to give consent to the extension of the Protocol to the FPA with Morocco. He will seize the opportunity to affirm his arguments during the debate in plenary.

(1)

Council Regulation 764/2006 of 22 May 2006 (OJ L 141, 29.5.2006, p.1).


OPINION of the Committee on Development (8.11.2011)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco

(11226/2011 – C7-0201/2011 – 2011/0139(NLE))

Rapporteur: Isabella Lövin

PA_Leg_Consent

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The current Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Kingdom of Morocco entered into force in February 2007. The technical and financial terms and conditions governing EU vessels' fishing, as well as the financial contribution, are provided in the Protocol to the Agreement. The previous protocol expired on 27 February 2011.

The Commission began negotiations for a one-year extension of the Protocol days before it expired to allow continued access for EU vessels in the waters of Morocco. The current Protocol entered into force on 28 February 2011 for a period of one year.

The financial contribution of € 36 100 000 allows for a maximum of 119 fishing permits for EU vessels in the categories of small-scale fishing, demersal fishing and tuna fishing, as well as a maximum catch tonnage of 60 000 tonnes in the category of industrial pelagic fishing. Of that total, € 13 500 000 are to be dedicated to support the sectoral fisheries policy of Morocco.

According to Articles 43.2 and 218.6(a) TFEU, the European Parliament can either consent or decline to consent to the Protocol.

The external consultancy ex-post evaluation of December 2010 assessing the previous protocol is one of the most negative evaluations ever made regarding any bilateral fisheries agreement.

Only 15% of the funds available for sectoral support have been used. Especially the programme for modernisation of the Moroccan fleet is failing. The compulsory employment clause has been respected by EU vessels but has only contributed to the creation of 170 jobs for Moroccan nationals, i.e. 0.04% of the number of fishermen in the country. EU vessels have not fully complied with the compulsory landing clauses, thus the local fishery industry has been prevented from generating added value.

The state of the fish stocks is alarming. All stocks are fully- or overexploited except the sardine stock off Western Sahara. However, if exploitation of sardines were to increase, then bycatch of overexploited horse mackerel and mackerel stocks would also increase. The evaluation shows that fishing effort in the northern part of the country cannot increase and needs to decrease in some fisheries, thus any license granted to the EU fleet will directly compete with local fishing activities. The Moroccan national fleet is already too large in proportion to the potential fishing opportunities and continued fishing by EU vessels will deprive the local fishermen of their income and employment.

The agreement has the lowest cost effectiveness of all agreements. The EU receives €0.65 in return for each Euro in payments (compared to an average of € 1.4 for all agreements). This includes 780 EU jobs, which means that the EU is subsidizing each job with €45 000.

The final conclusion in the evaluation report is that the agreement did not have any substantial positive impact on the viability of the sector in Morocco from of a development perspective.

A significant source of controversy concerns the inclusion of fishing in the waters off Western Sahara. Under international law, Western Sahara currently has the status on a Non-Self-Governing Territory within the meaning of Article 73 of the UN Charter. Morocco is the de facto administrator but has never been accepted as the official administering power by the UN. According to the 2002 opinion by the UN Legal Counsel Hans Corell, any exploration or exploitation activities in Western Sahara can only proceed if they are to the benefit of, and according to, the wishes of the people of Western Sahara.

The EP Legal Service wrote, in a May 2009 opinion that "compliance with international law requires that economic activities related to the natural resources of a Non-Self-Governing Territory are carried out for the benefits of the people of such Territory, and in accordance with their wishes." Both these prerequisites must be fulfilled, otherwise the EU should “envisage either the suspension of the agreement in conformity with its Article 15 and Article 19 of the Protocol, or to apply the agreement in such a way that EU flagged vessels are excluded from the exploitation of the waters of Western Sahara.”

After many requests from the Commission about benefits to the “local population”, Morocco responded on 13 December 2010 with a PowerPoint document on the outcome of some investment programmes divided into 4 different regions - the "South" includes the Western Sahara as well as other territory. The document does not show whether the people of Western Sahara have benefitted socio-economically from the agreement. Although the document claims that jobs are created in all areas, it is highly likely that the agreement mainly benefits Moroccan settlers, transferred into occupied territory in violation of Article 49 of the IV Geneva Convention of 1949. Regrettably, the document does not support any EU conclusion on benefits for either the local population or for the Saharawi people.

The document fails entirely to address the second prerequisite, whether the agreement has been concluded in accordance of the wishes of the people of Western Sahara.

******

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to propose that Parliament withhold its consent.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

7.11.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

4

2

Members present for the final vote

Thijs Berman, Leonidas Donskis, Charles Goerens, András Gyürk, Eva Joly, Franziska Keller, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Norbert Neuser, Birgit Schnieber-Jastram, Michèle Striffler, Alf Svensson, Patrice Tirolien, Ivo Vajgl, Anna Záborská

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Santiago Fisas Ayxela, Fiona Hall, Krzysztof Lisek, Isabella Lövin, Horst Schnellhardt, Giancarlo Scottà, Jan Zahradil

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Josefa Andrés Barea, Sophie Auconie, João Ferreira, Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu


OPINION of the Committee on Budgets (9.11.2011)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Morocco

(11226/2011 – C7-0201/2011 – 2011/0139(NLE))

Rapporteur for the opinion: François Alfonsi

PA_Leg_Consent

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The proposed extension of the protocol covers a period of one year from 27 February 2011, the date on which the current protocol expires. The current protocol was provisionally set in place pending Parliament's consent procedure. The extended protocol will be valid for one year commencing on 28 February 2011.

Under Articles 43(2) and 218(6)(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Parliament can either consent or decline to consent.

This agreement involves a considerable level of funding (EUR 36.1 million), which is much more substantial than that of other agreements so far approved. Our committee has called for a joint in-depth consideration of these agreements by the EP committees involved (PECH, BUDG, DEVE), to find ways of improving the existing safeguards for the conservation of fish stocks and ensure a more positive impact on the economic and social development of the countries involved. If this proposal is adopted in its present form, it will take up 25 % of the budget line involved and will effectively render any such consultation largely pointless.

******

CONCLUSION

The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to propose that Parliament withhold its consent.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

7.11.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

25

8

0

Members present for the final vote

Marta Andreasen, Reimer Böge, Lajos Bokros, Isabelle Durant, James Elles, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazábal Rubial, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Carl Haglund, Lucas Hartong, Jutta Haug, Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska, Ivailo Kalfin, Jan Kozłowski, Alain Lamassoure, Vladimír Maňka, Barbara Matera, Nadezhda Neynsky, Dominique Riquet, László Surján, Derek Vaughan

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

François Alfonsi, Franziska Katharina Brantner, Frédéric Daerden, Jürgen Klute, Georgios Stavrakakis

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Josefa Andrés Barea, María Irigoyen Pérez, Baroness Sarah Ludford, George Lyon, Marisa Matias, Marit Paulsen, Ivo Vajgl


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

22.11.2011

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

12

8

1

Members present for the final vote

Josefa Andrés Barea, Antonello Antinoro, Alain Cadec, Carmen Fraga Estévez, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, Carl Haglund, Ian Hudghton, Iliana Malinova Iotova, Isabella Lövin, Gabriel Mato Adrover, Crescenzio Rivellini, Ulrike Rodust, Struan Stevenson

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, Chris Davies, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Antolín Sánchez Presedo

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

William (The Earl of) Dartmouth, Ilda Figueiredo, Małgorzata Handzlik

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