EU Council agrees on a partial general approach for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2014-2020
Commissioner Maria Damanaki represented the Commission at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of October 2012, which takes place in Luxemburg on 22 and 23 October 2012, under the presidency of Mr Sofoklis Aletraris, Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment.
EU Ministers reached a partial general approach on the Commission's proposal on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Commissioner Maria Damanaki commented on the Council outcome:
"After long negotiations, EU Ministers reached a compromise on the future European fund to support fisheries and maritime affairs.
This compromise can be a step forward for the reform of our Common Fisheries Policy. It leaves open the perspective of breaking with the past.
Of course, our proposal is more ambitious than the compromise achieved in the Council: it puts an end to the ineffective subsidies of the past, which contributed to overfishing and to the economic decline of the fishing sector. It gets a much better return to tax-payers' money.
Even so, the Council position leaves room for a radical change: the Council decided to phase out scrapping of vessels –a measure that is strongly criticized by the European Court of Auditors – and is in favour of strict conditions for temporary cessation and engine replacement, to the benefit of young fishermen and local fisheries.
Moreover the amounts allocated for these purposes will be capped, in order to give priority to measures that improve scientific advice and control, increase selectivity and put in place the discard ban, favour small-scale fisheries, boost innovation, implement sustainability policies to reach Maximum Sustainable Yield and provide consumers with all the information they need.
Our proposal is still on the table. We are now looking forward to the decision of the European Parliament to put more weight on the targets of our proposal. In the trilogues, the European Commission will stand for a new, sustainable Common Fisheries Policy, and I hope this is something we can achieve with the cooperation of both the Council and the Parliament."
In her opening remarks, Commissioner Maria Damanaki highlighted in particular the need to support young fishermen's entrance into the profession: "in many regions of the Union, youngsters simply don't want to enter a business which is extremely hard work, dangerous and where your income can fluctuate so much. I want to give a positive signal and support aid to young fishermen to buy a second hand vessel with a maximum of 15% of the price of the vessel and 50 000 €."
Read more and comment on Maria Damanaki's blog: "The Young Man and the Sea"
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
The new Fund will help deliver the ambitious objectives of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and will help fishermen in the transition towards sustainable fishing, as well as coastal communities in the diversification of their economies. The fund will finance projects that create new jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts. Red tape will be cut so that beneficiaries have easy access to financing. This fund will replace the existing European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and a number of other instruments. The proposed envelope amounts to € 6.5 billion for the period 2014 to 2020. Commissioner Damanaki will focus on how the EMFF ensures the long-term environmental, economic and social sustainability of EU fisheries and the fishing communities that depend on these fisheries.
Other fisheries points
The Council will also exchange views with the Commission on the EU-Norway annual consultations for 2013 and on the upcoming annual meeting of ICCAT (the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas), to be held in Agadir, Morocco from 12-19 November.