Maritime affairs and fisheries
Athens - Commissioner Damanaki met with local and regional authorities of the Amvrakikos Gulf.
WWF published today a study "Spatial expansion of EU and non-EU fishing fleets into the global ocean 1950 to the present", showing how that European fleets have been mobile and able to be the first to exploit new fishing grounds since 1980.
Commissioner Damanaki commented: "I can't agree more with those that see the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy as a unique opportunity to overcome once and for all the problem of overfishing, in EU waters as well as on a global scale.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki met today the Icelandic Minister for Economic Affairs, for Fisheries and Agriculture, Mr Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. They discussed the issues of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and the coastal states negotiations on mackerel. Mr Sigfússon also raised the issue of the negotiations on Iceland's accession to the European Union and the Fisheries chapter.
Following the meeting, Commissioner Damanaki said: "I met with the new Icelandic Minister responsible for Fisheries, Mr Sigfússon, and conveyed the message that we need a solution on the mackerel issue now. I told him that we need to do everything in our power to avert the collapse of this important stock."
Commissioner Damanaki met the Head of the Region of Attica, Mr Yannis Sgouros, and his team on fish shelters.
Following the meeting, Commissioner Damanaki said "Protected areas are paramount to ensure that fish stocks can reconstitute and we need to support projects aiming at establishing fish shelters as much as we can."
The Hong Kong-based Luxury hotel chain Shangri-La has announced it will stop serving shark fin at its 72 properties worldwide. The announcement came two months after another Hong Kong-based Peninsula Hotels group said it would stop selling shark fin from this year. The campaign has also received a boost in Singapore, after Carrefour and Singapore's largest supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice said they would halt sales of shark fin products.
Commissioner Damanaki commented: "If we lose sharks, there will be an imbalance in the oceanic ecosystem which will result in long term damage: we need to protect sharks. But rules will be much more effective if supported by a shared commitment: therefore, I sincerely welcome the decision of an ever growing number of hotel chains, restaurants and retailers to stop serving shark fin soup." She added: "To eradicate the horrendous practice of shark finning, in November I proposed to strengthen the EU ban, easing controls."
Read more and comment on Commissioner Damanaki's blog: Shark Fin Soup
Commissioner Damanaki meets Mr Masa Miyahara, Chair of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas
Commissioner Damanaki met today Mr Masa Miyahara, Chair of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
Following the meeting, Commissioner Damanaki said: "I expect improvements as regards the scientific collection of data and an improved situation concerning compliance, in the framework of ICCAT".
Following her meeting with the Spanish Minister Arias Cañete, Commissioner Damanaki said: "The European Commission has tabled a proposal for a negotiating mandate for a new fisheries protocol with Morocco on the 5th of January, in line with the position expressed by the EU Council and the vote in the European Parliament.
Both the Commission and the Spanish government are committed to conclude a new protocol on that basis."
In the framework of the meeting, Commissioner Damanaki and Minister Cañete also discussed the compensation possibilities under the European Fisheries Fund for fishermen affected by the interruption of fisheries. Further meetings at technical level will explore the concrete possibilities.
Commissioner Damanaki met today the Italian Minister for Agriculture Policy, Food and Forestry, Mr Mario Catania.
The discussion on the proposals for the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy was very productive and allowed Commissioner Damanaki and Minister Catania to find common grounds on several issues.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki
Maria Damanaki expresses her sincere condolences to the family of Theodoros Angelopoulos, stressing his foremost contribution to European cinema.
"He was amongst the top ones. Not only in Greece, but in Europe and worldwide. I realised this once again, here in Brussels, where the news of his death shocked fans of art and of cinematography. Theοdoros has honoured Greece and has brightened European culture. He has earned a special place in the history of European and global culture".
The European Commission meets the Danish government in Copenhagen at the start of the Danish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The programme comprises a plenary meeting and different working sessions to discuss the implementation of the main priorities. These include financial stability and the creation of growth and jobs, green growth and energy efficiency.
"I had a discussion with Prime Minister Loukas Papademos about the need for immediate implementation of a European Commission initiative concerning the absorption of EU funds and the creation of new jobs.
This initiative follows my proposal to the Commission in cooperation with the European Investment Bank, tabled in September 2011. It concerns the creation of a Guarantee Fund that, with EU funds, would leverage the financing of investments for new jobs. We have a responsibility towards our fellow citizens who are facing unemployment: they would not understand further delays in the implementation of this proposal.
I also addressed with the Prime Minister the need to overcome obstacles delaying the absorption of the EU funds. We have succeeded, after great effort, to increase the EU contribution for infrastructure projects up to 95%, to eliminate problems related to the national participation and co-financing.
Therefore there cannot be any excuse towards our fellow citizens for keeping EU funds unused."