EU parliament approves Morocco agriculture trade deal
Friday, 17 Feb 2012
The EU's agriculture chief, Dacian Ciolos, described the deal as both economically and politically significant.
"It is a balanced agreement, which opens new opportunities for our producers in Europe paves the way for a real reinforcement in our relations with Morocco," he said.
But critics said the deal would threaten the livelihoods of small-scale agricultural producers in Morocco and Europe and prolong a decades-old dispute over control of the Western Sahara.
"Those MEPs who endorsed this agreement today should be under no illusion: the agreement is not in the interest of the average Moroccan citizen and not in the interest of the people of Western Sahara," French activist and Green EU lawmaker Jose Bove said in a statement.
"By failing to exclude the non-self-governing territory Western Sahara from the agreement, as the U.S. has done, the EU is adding to the difficulties preventing a peaceful resolution of this conflict," he said.
Morocco's agriculture and fisheries Minister Aziz Akhannouch
dismissed these accusations saying many small farmers affiliated to giant exporting cooperatives would benefit of the deal, which he said ensures greater balance in trade exchanges with the European Union.