Nordic parliamentarians call for halt of unethical EU fisheries

In a press released issued today, Western Sahara Resource Watch requests the countries of the European Union to prevent the continuation of illegal fishing in the coasts off the occupied Western Saharan territories, as well as the automatic prolongation of the EU-Moroccan fisheries agreement that expires in 2011. The press release quotes passages from a letter written by 32 Nordic parliamentarians that was sent today to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Both the press release and letter can be read below.

(see Danish translations of the press release and parliamentarians’ letter below)

Nordic parliamentarians call for halt of unethical EU fisheries

Press release
Western Sahara Resource Watch
7 July 2010

32 parliamentarians from Finland, Sweden and Denmark today requested the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of their countries to prevent renewed EU fisheries in occupied Western Sahara.

We urge the governments of Denmark, Finland and Sweden, to actively and jointly work to prevent an automatic prolongation of the EU-Moroccan fisheries agreement as long as Western Sahara is not clearly excluded from its application”, stated the letter, urging that the EU fisheries offshore the occupied territory terminate.

The EU is currently paying its tax payers money to the Moroccan government to be able to fish in offshore Western Sahara, a territory that Morocco has occupied.

Sweden, Denmark and Finland all treated the 2007-2011 EU-Moroccan fisheries agreement seriously when it was first debated in the European Council in 2006. Sweden voted against the agreement, stating it was in violation of international law. Denmark and Finland also raised concerns about the legality of the agreement. Finland abstained from the vote, underlining that the Saharawi people must be consulted. The European Commission has since ignored the conditions the Finnish government set in its separate statement in 2006.

The letter from the parliamentarians point to a Legal Opinion of 2009, made by the Legal Service of the European Parliament, which concluded that the conditions for respecting international law have not been met: there is no proof that the Saharawi people has been consulted, nor that it has benefited from the agreement. During the three years of fisheries, the Commission has not been able to present a single piece of information showing the contrary. Both the Saharawi representative, formally recognised by the UN, the Polisario Front, and all major Saharawi civil society organisations have made clear statements against the present agreement and any new version that includes their own territory.

We expect that the Swedish, Danish and Finnish governments will stand by their defence of international law, as a basis for a determined, constructive Nordic action for a fully legal agreement. That would also bring the EU in line with the US and EFTA, who in respect for international law clearly exclude Western Sahara in agreements with Morocco”, stated the parliamentarians.

The letter was signed by parliamentarians from the Social Democratic Party, The Greens, The Left Party and Left Alliance, the Christian Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, the Center Party, the Socialist People’s party and the Danish Red-Green Alliance.

For questions or comments, contact
Sara Eyckmans, Western Sahara Resource Watch, Belgium, tel +32 475458695
Mr. Sören Lindh, Western Sahara Action, Sweden, tel +46 8392769
www.wsrw.org

Nordic Initiative on Fishing in Western Sahara waters

To:
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Mr. Carl Bildt
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Ms. Lene Espersen
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Mr. Alexander Stubb

Copy:
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Mr. Jonas Gahr Støre
Permanent Representation/Mission of Denmark/Finland/Sweden/Norway to the EU
Embassy of Denmark/Finland/Sweden/Norway to Morocco

A common Nordic position on the new EU-Moroccan Fisheries Agreement?

In August 2010, the EU-Moroccan fisheries agreement, allowing for EU vessels to fish offshore occupied Western Sahara, is up for renewal. The agreement has fundamental legal, ethical and political implications, and the undersigned urge the Nordic governments to prevent it.

There is a long-standing consensus among Nordic governments on three important aspects of the Western Sahara issue: (1) that Western Sahara is a colonial, Non Self-Governing Territory, (2) that the Moroccan sovereignty claims over Western Sahara are unfounded, (3) that the natural resources of Western Sahara should be governed according to international law, by respecting the Saharawi people’s right over its natural resources, taking into account the people’s wishes and interests.

It should be recalled that Sweden, Denmark and Finland treated the 2007-2011 EU-Moroccan fisheries agreement seriously when it first was debated in the European Council in 2006. Sweden voted against the agreement, stating it was in violation of international law. Denmark and Finland also raised concerns about the legality of the agreement. Finland abstained from the vote, underlining that the Saharawi people must be consulted. We note that the European Commission has since ignored the conditions the Finnish government set in its separate statement in 2006.

In its opinion of July 2009, the Legal Service of the European Parliament concluded that the conditions for respecting international law have not been met: there is no proof that the Saharawi people has been consulted, nor that they have benefited from the agreement. The Commission has during the 3 years of fisheries not been able to present a single piece of information showing the contrary. Both the Saharawi representative, formally recognised by the UN, the Polisario Front, and all major Saharawi civil society organisations have made clear statements against the present agreement and any new version that includes Western Sahara.

In May 2010, Morocco furthermore refused the European Parliament to visit the territory in order to investigate the implications of the cooperation. Despite all this, the Commission claims the agreement is in accordance with international law, and the preparations for a new EU-Moroccan fisheries partnership agreement are already under way.

We urge the governments of Denmark, Finland and Sweden, to actively and jointly work to prevent an automatic prolongation of the EU-Moroccan fisheries agreement as long as Western Sahara is not clearly excluded from its application.

We expect that the Swedish, Danish and Finnish governments will stand by their defence of international law, as a basis for a determined, constructive Nordic action for a fully legal agreement. That would also bring the EU in line with the US and EFTA, who in respect for international law clearly exclude Western Sahara in agreements with Morocco. We suggest that this be done in contact with other like-minded EU member states and associated countries.

Signed by the MPs listed below:

Finland
Jacob Söderman (Social Democratic Party)
Ilkka Kantola (Social Democratic Party)
Erkki Tuomioja (Social Democratic Party)
Kimmo Kiljunen (Social Democratic Party)
Pekka Haavisto (The Greens)
Kirsi Ojansuu (The Greens)
Jyrki Yrttiaho (Vänsterförbundet)
Pentti Tiusanen (Vänsterförbundet)
Antti Kaikkonen (Christian Democratic Party)
Bjarne Kallis (Christian Democratic Party)
Sari Palm (Christian Democratic Party)

Sweden
Carina Hägg (Social Democratic Party)
Hillevi Larsson (Social Democratic Party)
Magdalena Streijffert (Social Democratic Party)
Agneta Berliner (Liberal Party)
Anita Brodén (Liberal Party)
Fredrik Malm (Liberal Party)
Lars Tysklind (Liberal Party)
Liza-Maria Norlin (Christian Democratic Party)
Eva Selin Lindgren (Center Party)
Marianne Berg (Left Party)
Hans Linde (Left Party)
Alice Åström (Left Party)
Bodil Ceballos (Green Party)
Tina Ehn (Green Party)
Ulf Holm (Green Party)

Denmark
Steen Gade (Socialist People’s Party),
Hanne Agersnap (Socialist People’s Party),
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen (Red-Green Alliance)
Line Barfod (Red-Green Alliance)
Frank Aaen (Red-Green Alliance)
Per Clausen (Red-Green Alliance)
______________________________________________________________________________________

I en pressemeddelelse udsendt i dag, opfordrer Western Sahara Watch EU-landene til at forhindre det ulovlige fiskeri ud for det besatte Vestsaharas kyster, samt den automatiske forlængelse af fiskeriaftalen mellem EU og Marokko der udløber i 2011. Pressemeddelelsen citerer desuden fra en brev skrevet af 32 Nordisk parlamentarikere, og som i dag blev sendt til udenrigsministrene fra Finland, Sverige, og Danmark.
Pressemeddelelsen og brevet kan læses nedenfor.

Nordiske parlamentarikere kræver stop for uetisk EU fiskeri

Pressemeddelelse
Western Sahara Ressource Watch
7. juli 2010

32 parlamentarikere fra Finland, Sverige, og Danmark anmodede i dag deres respektive udenrigsministre om at forhindre yderligere EU-fiskeri ud for den besatte del af Vestsahara.

Vi opfordrer regeringerne fra Danmark, Finland og Sverige til aktivt at arbejde for, at en automatisk forlængelse af fiskeriaftalen mellem EU og Marokko ikke finder sted så længe Vestsahara er en del af aftalen”, stod der blandt andet i brevet, som desuden opfordrede til at al EU-fiskeri ud for de besatte områder øjeblikligt ophører.

EU bruger på nuværende tidspunkt unionens skatteborgeres penge på at betale Marokko for rettighederne til at fiske ud for Vestsahara, et område som Marokko ulovligt har besat.
Sverige, Danmark, og Finland var alle kritiske overfor den nuværende fiskeriaftale, der løber fra 2007 til 2011, da denne først blev diskuteret i Det Europæiske Råd i 2006. Sverige stemte imod aftalen, fordi de mente den krænkede international lov. Danmark og Finland var også bekymrede for aftalens lovmæssige implikationer, og Finland undlod derfor at stemme, idet landets regering mente at Sahrawierne skulle høres i spørgsmålet. Vi konstaterer desuden at Den Europæiske Kommission siden hen har ignoreret de forhold som den Finske regering påpegede i en særskilt erklæring i 2006.

I brevet fra parlamentarikerne, påpeges det desuden, at Europarlamentets Juridiske Tjeneste konkluderede i juli 2009, at international lov stadigvæk konsekvent brydes i Vestsahara. Der er således hverken beviser for, at Sahrawierne er blevet konsulteret omkring udfærdigelsen af aftalen, eller har draget nogle former for fordele af den, og Kommissionen har ikke kunne dokumentere et eneste eksempel på at det modsatte skulle være tilfældet. Både Sahrawiernes af FN anerkendte repræsentation, Polisario Fronten, og alle større Sahrawiske civilsamfundsorganisationer har klart udtalt sig imod den nuværende aftale og alle fremtidige aftaler der inkluderer Vestsahara.

Vi forventer at regeringerne i Danmark, Finland og Sverige står ved deres forsvar af international lov, også i handling, som et udgangspunkt for et stålsat og konstruktiv Nordisk samarbejde for en aftale der overholder international lov. På denne måde vil EU kunne handle i tråd med USA og EFTA, der respekterer international lov ved at have krævet Vestsahara udeladt fra lignende aftaler”, udtalte parlamentarikerne i brevet.

Brevet var underskrevet af parlamentarikere fra Socialistisk Folkeparti , Enhedslisten, Socialdemokratiet (Finland), De Grønne (Finland),  Venstreforbundet (Finland),  Centerpartiet (Finland), Kristdemokraterne (Finland),  Socialdemokraterne (Sverige), Det Liberale Parti (Sverige), Kristendemokraterne (Sverige), Centerpartiet (Sverige), Venstrepartiet (Sverige), og De Grønne (Sverige).

Spørgsmål og kommentarer stiles til:
Sara Eyckmans, Western Sahara Ressource Watch, Belgien, tel +32 475458695
Sören Lindth, Westerne Sahara Ressource Watch, Sverige, tel +46 8392769
http://www.wsrw.org

Nordisk initiativ om fiskeri i vandene omkring Vestsahara

Til:
Sveriges Udenrigsminister, Carl Bildt
Danmarks Udenrigsminister, Lene Espersen.
Finlands Udenrigsminister Alexander Stubb

Kopi til:
Norges Udenrigsminister, Jonas Gahr Støre
Danmarks/Finlands/Sveriges/Norges Faste Repræsentation ved EU
Den danske, finske, svenske, og norske ambassade i Marokko

Et fælles nordisk standpunkt til fiskeriaftalen mellem EU og Marokko?

I august 2010 skal fiskeriaftalen mellem EU og Marokko, der ulovligt tillader skibe fra EU-landene at fiske udfor det besatte Vestsahara, genforhandles. Aftalen har fundamentale retlige, etiske, og politiske implikationer, hvorfor undertegnede opfordrer deres respektive Nordiske regeringer til at forhindre genforhandlingen.

Der har i lang tid været konsensus imellem de Nordiske lande om tre vigtige aspekter af Vestsahara-spørgsmålet: (1) at Vestsahara er at betragte som en koloni og et ikke-selvstyret område, (2) at Marokkos krav om suverænitet over Vestsahara er ubegrundede, og (3) at Vestsaharas naturressourcer bør udnyttes i henhold til international lov, dvs. ved at respektere Sahrawiernes ret til at forvalte dem.

Man bør erindre, at Sverige, Danmark, og Finland var kritiske overfor den nuværende fiskeriaftale, der løber fra 2007 til 2011, da denne først blev diskuteret i Det Europæiske Råd i 2006. Sverige stemte imod aftalen, fordi de mente den krænkede international lov. Danmark og Finland var også bekymrede for aftalens lovmæssige implikationer, og Finland undlod derfor at stemme, idet landets regering mente at Sahrawierne skulle høres i spørgsmålet. Vi konstaterer desuden at Den Europæiske Kommission siden hen har ignoreret de forhold som den Finske regering påpegede i en særskilt erklæring i 2006.

Europarlamentets Juridiske Tjeneste konkluderede i juli 2009, at international lov stadigvæk konsekvent brydes i Vestsahara. Der er således hverken beviser for, at Sahrawierne er blevet konsulteret omkring udfærdigelsen af aftalen, eller har draget nogle former for fordele af den, og Kommissionen har ikke kunne dokumentere et eneste eksempel på at det modsatte skulle være tilfældet. Både Sahrawiernes af FN anerkendte repræsentation, Polisario Fronten, og alle større civilsamfundsorganisationer har klart udtalt sig imod den nuværende aftale og alle fremtidige aftaler der inkluderer Vestsahara.

Marokko nægtede derudover repræsentanter fra Europaparlamentet at besøge de besatte områder i Vestsahara for at undersøge aftalens og samarbejdets implikationer. Til trods for alt dette, hævder Kommissionen at fiskeriaftalen er i henhold til international, og forberedelser til en ny aftale er allerede i gang.

Vi opfordrer regeringerne fra Danmark, Finland og Sverige til aktivt at arbejde for, at en automatisk forlængelse af fiskeriaftalen mellem EU og Marokko ikke finder sted så længe Vestsahara er en del af aftalen.

Vi forventer at regeringerne i Danmark, Finland og Sverige står ved deres forsvar af international lov, også i handling, som et udgangspunkt for et stålsat og konstruktiv Nordisk samarbejde for en aftale der overholder international lov. På denne måde vil EU kunne handle i tråd med USA og EFTA, der respekterer international lov ved at have krævet Vestsahara udeladt fra lignende aftaler. Vi foreslår at dette samarbejde også indebærer en løbende kontakt med andre ligesindede EU-medlemsstater samt associerede lande.

Underskrevet af følgende folketingsmedlemmer:

Finland
Jacob Söderman (Socialdemokratiet)
Ilkka Kantola (Socialdemokratiet)
Erkki Tuomioja (Socialdemokratiet)
Kimmo Kiljunen (Socialdemokratiet)
Pekka Haavisto (De Grønne)
Kirsi Ojansuu (De Grønne)
Jyrki Yrttiaho (Venstreforbundet)
Pentti Tiusanen (Venstreforbundet)
Antti Kaikkonen (Centerpartiet)
Bjarne Kallis (Kristdemokraterne)
Sari Palm (Kristdemokraterne)

Sverige
Carina Hägg (Socialdemokraterne)
Hillevi Larsson (Socialdemokraterne)
Magdalena Streijffert (Socialdemokraterne)
Agneta Berliner (Det Liberale Parti)
Anita Brodén (Det Liberale Parti)
Fredrik Malm (Det Liberale Parti)
Lars Tysklind (Det Liberale Parti)
Liza-Maria Norlin (Kristendemokraterne)
Eva Selin Lindgren (Centerpartiet)
Marianne Berg (Venstrepartiet)
Hans Linde (Venstrepartiet)
Alice Åström (Venstrepartiet)
Bodil Ceballos (De Grønne)
Tina Ehn (De Grønne)
Ulf Holm (De Grønne)

Danmark
Steen Gade (Socialistisk Folkeparti)
Hanne Agersnap (Socialistisk Folkeparti)
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen (Enhedslisten)
Line Barfod (Enhedslisten)
Frank Aaen (Enhedslisten)
Per Clausen (Enhedslisten)

Links:

Commission still awaits data from Morocco for renewal fisheries pact, FishElsewhere, 8 September 2010

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