Commissioner Damanaki met with the Confederation of Industrialists and representatives of employees from the Canary Islands on the issue of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement protocol with Mauritania.
The Commissioner welcomed their constructive spirit as well as their vision for the future of this Fisheries Partnership Agreement, and thanked the delegation from the Canary Islands for their clear support regarding the quick adoption by the European Union Institutions of this important protocol.
Commissioner Damanaki received in Brussels, CEPESCA, the Spanish Confederation of Fisheries, who presented the Spanish and French fishing industry's 'Tuna Transparency Initiative', as well as their work on the sustainable management of purse seine FAD fisheries.
Commissioner Damanaki has participated in the plenary debate of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the Lisbon alignment of the Eel recovery plan, during the presentation on September 10th of MEP Lövin's report on the issue. On September 11th, the Parliament has adopted MEP Lövin's report.
Read below Commissioner Damanaki's opening remarks during plenary debate on September 10th on the report on eel recovery plan.
"Mr President, Honourable Members,
I would like to thank the rapporteur, Isabella Lövin, and other members of the Fisheries Committee for their work on this report.
As you know, the objective of the Commission's proposal was to bring the Eel Regulation in line with the rules of the Treaty on delegated and implementing acts. I welcome the fact that the Report agrees with most of the proposed changes.
I am aware that during the discussions in the Fisheries Committee concerns were voiced on whether this Regulation is effective enough in protecting eels. I note that this House would prefer a more comprehensive review of the current rules, going beyond the scope of the Commission's proposal.
I would like to ensure you that the Commission is committed to ensuring the recovery of European eel stocks.
We have recently received and are currently analysing the latest assessment by ICES of the implementation of the Eel Management Plans by Member States. We are also looking forward to the annual eel stock assessment by ICES in November 2013. This advice will also include an evaluation of the Eel Regulation and its consistency with the precautionary approach.
On the basis of these scientific and technical data, the Commission will report, before the end of this year, to the Parliament and to the Council on the implementation and effectiveness of the Eel Management Plans.
On the basis of this report, the Commission will consider whether amendments to the Eel Regulation are necessary in order to improve the recovery of this important stock."
The Commission has proposed today a new Regulation on invasive alien species. These invasive species are a major cause of biodiversity damage in the EU and can cause several problems as well in terms of human health and economy.
The new Regulation will propose to Member states three types of intervention: prevention of the intentional introduction of these species in the EU, early warning and rapid response to eradicate these species and management of the species of concern which are already introduced in the EU. The proposal encourages a shift towards a harmonized and more preventive and coordinated approach.
Find out more about this new proposal here.
Commissioner Damanaki made a statement today on Coastal States Meeting on Mackerel which will take place in Reykjavik, Iceland, on 7 & 8 September 2013.
"The four Coastal States – the European Union, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway-will be meeting in Reykjavik on the 7th and 8th of September to address the mackerel issue.
The European Union will be there and will be ready to negotiate.
This is an opportunity to find a solution to the unresolved dispute on this mackerel quota-sharing arrangement between the Parties.
Unilateral actions are definitely not the way to go.
We need the constructive engagement of all Parties.
We are waiting for a counter-proposal from Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
We will continue to work towards a negotiated settlement among all Parties."
Watch the video message here.
The Commission welcomes the coastal state's intention to create a scientific working group on the zonal attachment of Atlanto-Scandian herring. This confirms the Commission's view that a possible re-allocation of the coastal states' respective shares in that fishery can only be negotiated and decided on the basis of sound and thorough science and in the knowledge of all the pertinent facts. Changes can be considered once those facts have been explored and discussed in a joint and transparent process.
In view of this development, the Commission regrets all the more that the Faroe Islands, already at the beginning of the current fishing season, have taken the unilateral step to abandon the coastal state arrangement and increase more than three-fold their catches of Atlanto-Scandian herring. This unilateral increase of the Faroese quota is in contradiction to the now accepted need for scientific exploration and fact-based decision-making. The unilateral move has led to overfishing and further damages an already declining fish stock.
The Commission continues to stand ready to discuss constructive solutions in the current situation. The Commission regrets that the Faroe Islands have not used this occasion to suspend their unilateral quota increase, pending the completion of the working group's deliberations.
Commissioner Damanaki met with Dr Christos Vasilakos, Secretary General for Research & Space, under the Greek Mnnistry of Education in Brussels. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the important role Research will play in the upcoming Greek Presidency of the European Council. The Commissioner thanked Dr Vasilakos for informing her on what the Presidency's priorities are in this area, and ensured him that together, and with Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn, they will work to convey and promote the true potential of Blue Growth.
Commissioner Damanaki met with the leader of the opposition party SYRIZA in Athens. After the meeting, the Commissioner commented:
"In the following weeks, crucial decisions will be made for Greece, by the European Institutions. Today, I had a constructive meeting with the leader of the opposition party, where I was informed on his party's position on the upcoming decisions."
Commissioner Damanaki replying to questions from journalists on the murder of activist and rapper, Pavlos Fyssas (aka Killah P), victim of Golden Dawn violence in Greece, made the following remarks:
"This outrageous crime can act as a strong wake up call for the whole greek political and judicial system, to cut the Gordian knot that exists for the last four years. Golden Dawn is not just another European extremist right wing party. They are a Neo-nazi party acting as a criminal organisation. The greek constitution does not foresee a total expulsion of this party from Parliament.
We need an immediate and decisive response based on three axis:
- A strict implementation of the common criminal law, for all cases, even for the members of parliament that belong to Golden Dawn. The reorganisation of the Police plays an important role here in order to effectively address this.
- An urgent evaluation and decision on the law system for possible changes to facilitate action against criminal organisations.
- An investigation to trace the money used in these actions.
It will not be easy. These people try to transform the despair and the anger, against unemployment and poverty, into criminal activity. The grapes of wrath are poisoned with blood by their criminal instincts.
The European institutions, we must understand that greek society is approaching the red line where violence replaces politics. We have an opportunity now to stop this downfall."
Commissioner Damanaki met today with Mr Kevin Cardiff, Member of the Court of Auditors, of Chamber I "Preservation and Management of Natural Resources", to discuss the on-going policy performance audit of the European Fisheries Fund support to aquaculture.
Commissioner Damanaki met with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens to discuss the progress made on the Greek Economic Adjustment Program and the upcoming Greek Presidency of the European Council in the first semester 2014.
After the meeting, the Commissioner made the following statement: "In the next period, the European Commission and the other EU institutions will take important decisions for Greece. We are entering a new phase. Greece made a clear progress. Thanks to the sacrifices of the Greek citizens the country has a primary surplus. This progress needs to be secured and we need to respond positively to the difficulties, that still exist, in order to bring about growth and jobs. My meeting with the Greek government was an opportunity to hear their views so that we can all work together, in light also of the upcoming visit of the Prime Minister in Brussels. "
In the framework of the upcoming Greek Presidency of the European Council during the first semester 2014, Commissioner Damanaki met today with the Greek Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Evangelos Venizelos. This meeting has been an opportunity to discuss the programming as well as the priorities of the rotating Presidency of the European Council.
Commissioner Damanaki has met with Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dimitris Kourkoulas on Monday 2nd September. Opportunities for Integrated Maritime Policy and Fisheries have been discussed, as well Blue Growth, which will be one of the priorities of the upcoming Greek Presidency of the European Council in the first semester 2014.