At the EU’s initiative, a final attempt to secure consensus amongst the Coastal States on the unresolved mackerel dispute will take place in Edinburgh on 3-4 March. Given the proximity of the Parties' positions, the prospects for an end to the four year long dispute between the North-East Atlantic fishing parties – EU, Norway, Iceland and Faroe Islands, are good. An agreement would be of benefit to all of the Parties' fishing industries by restoring sustainability and stability to the fisheries, in particular for the EU and Norway who have the major mackerel fisheries.
The first round of consultations between the EU and Norway on bilateral fisheries arrangements for 2014 was adjourned on 14 February largely as a result of the unresolved sharing mackerel issue.
A Coastal State Agreement on mackerel should greatly facilitate the conclusion of bilateral fisheries arrangements for 2014 between the EU and Norway. These fisheries arrangements are of key significance to EU fishermen in the North Sea, Skagerrak, and North Norway waters. These negotiations will also be held in Edinburgh between 5-7 March.
Commissioner Damanaki met with Mr Panos Stampoulidis, Chairman & Managing Director of the Greek Central Markets & Fish Markets and Deputy Minister for Development, Mr Athanasios Skordas in Ayios Ioannis Rentis, Piraeus. Mr Stampoulidis gave the Commissioner a tour of the newly opened fish market, which is the first wholesale fish market under a regulated establishment. The Commissioner had the opportunity to interact with fish traders of the market and to exchange views in bringing about more transparency and traceability in fisheries commerce and products.
The College of European Commissioners is meeting today and holding its biannual Seminar. The discussions among the Commissioners will focus all day long on the upcoming European elections and the challenges at stake. The College holds two Seminars per year to focus on important and current issues.
A first round of consultations was held in Bergen, Norway from 11 to 14 February between the Union and Norway on bilateral fisheries arrangements for 2014. These consultations concern a broad range of issues, including the establishment of catch limits on a number of joint stocks in the North Sea and the Skagerrak. Furthermore, they allow the Parties to exchange a number of important fishing possibilities in their respective waters. Progress was made on a number of issues.
The consultations have been adjourned and this is mainly due to the continuing unresolved issue of mackerel sharing between the four Coastal States – EU, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway. It is expected that Coastal State consultations on mackerel will resume shortly, since the positions of the Parties are very close.
Commissioner Damanaki received Mr Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana, in Brussels on February 13th. Oceana is an NGO active on the scene of international fisheries. Discussions were held on the external dimension of the reformed Commmon Fisheries Policy and on the need to improve the sustainability of marine resources all accross the globe. With the new Fisheries policy, the EU can now push for the application of its internal principles, strongly oriented towards sustainability, by its international partners, on a regional and on a global basis.
Commissioner Damanaki received the Dutch Minister in charge of Agriculture, Mrs Sharon DIJKSMA in Brussels on February 12th. Discussions were held on the implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy as well as on the state of play of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The meeting also focused on various topics of mutual interest.
Inseparable, the EU-wide awareness campaign launched by Commissioner Damanaki, is dedicated to the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. You can access a wide range of information, interact wih other followers, share and show your dedication to sustainable fisheries via these various social media, part of the campaign.
All together we can make the difference and protect our precious marine environement and resources.
There have been intensive discussions in London over mackerel management and most issues have been resolved. The negotiations have been adjourned and it is expected that they will resume shortly.
The European Parliament has approved today a new EU-Gabon Fisheries protocol. Fishing vessels from Spain and France are now allowed, under this new protocol, to fish in the waters of the Gabonese Republic in return for an annual EU payment of € 1.35 million. Of this amount, € 450.000 is allocated to assist the Gabonese fishing sector. This represents a significant increase compared to the previous protocol. The new protocol covers a period of three years, and the reference tonnage amounts to 20,000 tonnes.
Commissioner Damanaki welcomed the vote of the European Parliament by saying: "Our agreement with Gabon is yet another example of the new generation of sustainable fisheries agreements which guarantee environmentally sustainability for the stocks concerned while ensuring economic profitability for the EU fleet".
Commissioner Damanaki adressed today the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. She paricipated in a plenary debate on the report by MEP Isabelle Thomas on the enforcement of Community control for ensuring compliance of the Common Fisheries Policy with the Lisbon Treaty.
Read Commissioner Damanaki's intervention below.
Maritime affairs and fisheries
Commissioner Damanaki paid a visit to the United States from Monday February 24th untill Wednesday February 26th, in the framework of the World Ocean Summit 2014 organised by The Economist. On Monday February 24th she attended the opening cocktail reception of the Conference, in the presence of Dr Jane Lubchenco and HSH The Prince Albert II of Monaco.
During her participation to this three-day event, the Commissioner highlighted the opportunities and challenges which come with unlocking sustainable growth from the world's oceans. She reiterated the European Commission's commitment to both economic sustainability and environmental sustainability in maritime policy.
On 25th February Commissioner Damanaki met with the co-chairs of the Global Ocean Commission Mr David Miliband and Mr José María Figueres, the former President of Costa Rica. Following opening remarks by HRH the Prince of Wales and John Kerry, US Secrtary of State, Commissioner Damanaki spoke at the World Ocean Summit in a session entitled "The Ocean as the new Economic Frontier?".
Find more information about the conclusions of the event here.
The European Commission adopted today a new strategy to support coastal and maritime tourism in Europe. Commissioner Damanaki together with Commissioner Tajani participated in the meeting of Competitiveness Ministers in the Council. They informed their counterparts on the proposal of a European Strategy for coastal and maritime tourism.
Recognising the sector's potential for sustainable growth and job creation, the strategy outlines 14 EU actions to help coastal regions and businesses tackle the challenges they face and strengthen the sector's position as a key driver of Europe's blue economy. These concrete actions are accompanied by a break-down of the tasks that Member States, Regions and industry stakeholders can undertake to complement the EU actions.
The proposed actions include facilitating closer cooperation and dialogue across Europe between all coastal tourism stakeholders, public-private partnerships, promoting skills and innovation, promoting ecotourism, and creating an online guide to funding opportunities to help drive investment. Member States, regional authorities and the industry will be central to the design and implementation of the actions.
Commissioner Damanaki stated on this occasion: "Coastal and maritime tourism was identified in our 'Blue Growth' strategy as one of the key drivers for creating growth and new jobs, particularly in our coastal areas which often suffer from high unemployment. As the largest maritime economic activity and the economic backbone of many of our coastal regions it is our responsibility to help this sector develop and prosper."
Commissioner Damanaki and Commissioner Tajani are participating on 20th February in the meeting of the Council on Competitiveness. They will be informing the Ministers in charge about coastal and maritime tourism and will be presenting developments on a European strategy for the sector.
Today, Commissioner Damanaki is attending, together with Commissioner Kallas, the Greek EU Presidency Summit organised by the Economist in Thessaloniki. This high-level event, taking place in the framework of the Greek Presidency of the European Council and supported by the European Commission, is focusing on Blue Growth, energy and transport through the sea in Europe.
Find more information and register through the dedicated website.
Commissioner Damanaki participated on February 7th to a panel discussion in the framework of the Athens Forum. This high-level forum, took place in Athens during two days, and gathered former Prime Ministers, Ministers, European Commissioners, parlemenatrians, experts, stakeholders and journalists, around democracy in Europe. Commissioner Damanaki expressed her views on the fight against corruption in Europe during this forum.
The Forum is organised by the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in collaboration with the Greek Newspaper Kathimerini.
Follow live the debate on Twitter via the hashtag #AthensForum.
On Thursday 6 February, Commissioner Damanaki is attending, together with Commissioner Hahn, a meeting with Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Adriatic and Ionian Council as well as a Conference with the stakeholders of the region, in the presence of Greek Prime Minister, M. Antonis Samaras.
In the morning, Foreign ministers from the eight coastal countries met with both Commissioners, as the European Commission gets ready to propose a tailor made strategy to reflect the needs and the capacities of the region. It follows a request from EU leaders in December 2012 to deliver the new macro-regional strategy by the end of 2014. The event marks the end of a wide consultation involving stakeholders from across the 8 countries.
In the afternoon, Commissioner Damanaki and Commissioner Hahn are speaking together with Prime Minister Samaras, at a high level conference gathering different stakeholders from the region. The event, co-hosted by the Greek Presidency of the Council and the European Commission, will bring together over 500 stakeholders from a broad-cross section of organisations ranging from national, regional and local administrations, businesses, civil society, academia, and media.