- Representatives of the government of Mauritania and the European Union (EU) have started to review the application of the fisheries agreement between the two parties, which came into force two years ago.
The work of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Cooperation between Mauritania and the European Union (EU) began yesterday in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott.
This is the first meeting of its kind since the entry into force of the protocol, signed in March 2008. Its purpose is monitoring the implementation of the agreement and resolving possible disputes. It is also to review financial transactions of the fiscal years 2008-2009 and to approve of planned operations for the year 2010, official sources said in Nouakchott.
To mark this occasion, the Mauritanian Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy, Eyih Ould Aghdhafna, stressed the importance of the development of the fisheries sector in the electoral program of the Mauritanian government. He added that the implementation of the EU-Mauritanian fisheries cooperation for the period 2008-2009 was "a genuine partnership" for sustainable development of the sector and its integration into the national economy.
The Fisheries Minister said the agreement provides for sectoral support, which would amount to euro 65 million during that period, indicating that this support was intended to finance priority actions of the strategy of the fisheries sector in Mauritania.
He also invited the European Commission to support Mauritania in its efforts to integrate the sector through the financing of priority structures beyond those already provided for sector support.
For his part, Hans-Georg Gerstenlauer, head of the EU delegation in Nouakchott, reiterated that the process of democratic transition in Mauritania and its return to constitutional order in January had enabled the Council of Europe to give a green light to the return to full cooperation between the EU and Mauritania.
The European diplomat also recalled that this was the most important fisheries agreement ever reached between the EU and third countries.
In 2008, fisheries ministers from EU member countries adopted the fisheries agreement between the EU and Mauritania, only with the opposition from Spain because the deal included a substantial reduction of licenses for the Spanish fleet.
The 2008 agreement reduced the EU fishing fleet in Mauritanian waters, while it also reduced funding which the Union pays the African country to open their fishing grounds for European fishers.
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