Fisheries: Commission proposes that the Council denounce the EU-Guinea Fisheries Partnership Agreement
The political situation in the Republic of Guinea prompted the European Commission to withdraw its proposal on the signing of a fisheries partnership agreement between the European Union and Guinea (see MEX/09/1021). Commissioner Joe Borg, responsible for maritime affairs and fisheries, informed the EU Presidency and the European Parliament of this intention and received their backing. As a final step in this process, the Commission has now adopted a proposal under which the Council would denounce the agreement which, by virtue of a Council Decision of May 2009, has been applied provisionally since 1 January 2009.
The Commission has also decided to suspend the payment of EUR 1.5 million to Guinea under the provisional application of the Protocol to the agreement. In the prevailing circumstances, until the conditions in Guinea can guarantee that European funds will be put to proper use, the Commission cannot make a financial transfer to the Guinean authorities.
The Commission will be keeping a close eye on developments in the situation through the consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. Within this framework, the European Union has already suspended its development assistance to Guinea until such time as there is a satisfactory resolution to the crisis. Any humanitarian aid assistance, which is strictly non-political and provided on a needs basis, remains unaffected.
This decision means that, once the Council has notified Guinea of the denunciation of the agreement, the European fleet currently operating in Guinean waters will be required to leave that fishing area forthwith. The Commission has asked the Member States concerned to keep their fleets abreast of developments.
Following the tragic events of 28 September last, during which more than 150 peaceful demonstrators were killed by the ruling military junta, the Commission decided to withdraw its proposal on the signing of a fisheries agreement with the Republic of Guinea. These acts of violence were widely condemned by the international community. Many international and regional organisations and countries joined the European Union in deciding to impose sanctions on the ruling junta.