A series of ambitious measures have been adopted on May 17th by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). These encouraging measures aim at improving fisheries management and conservation in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
The EU and GFCM members have closely cooperated in order to undertake important steps to change the way GFCM works and to adopt a multiannual approach for fisheries management in the area.
This year's important development is the adoption of a multiannual management plan for the Adriatic as well as a set of management measures for the turbot. Moreover, following an EU proposal, GFCM has decided to carry on with its reform. It will propose to its members and to the FAO, by early 2014, a new structure and new governance of the organisation.
Commissioner Damanaki stated that: "Even if most of these decisions that were adopted by GFCM last week were initiated by the EU, it is clear that the important result we have achieved was possible due to the intense and close cooperation with all our partners. It is clear that we all share the same views on the decisions that need to be taken to address the state of resources in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and to ensure a level playing field”.
The European Commission has today informed the Faroe Islands authorities of the possibility of introducing restricting measures against them on herring quotas issue. Quotas on Atlanto-Scandian herring are settled after both consultation and agreement of all partner countries fishing herring and associated species in the Atlantic and Northern seas.
Faroe Islands have decided to withdraw from the consultations for 2013 and to increase their fishing quota of that species, while other partners agreed on a reduction of herring fishing quotas.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki said: "I am concerned about the persistent unsustainable behaviour of the Faroe Islands. They are acting in full disrespect of the necessary science-based management measures. While the EU fishermen and all other coastal states' fishermen are taking a serious hit through a 26% reduction of their quotas of last year, the Faroes are increasing unilaterally their quota by 145%."
This morning, Ministers adopted a revised mandate to facilitate the next stage of negotiations between the Irish Presidency and the European Parliament on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Commissioner Damanaki said:
"Council has made a good step forward and really tried to come closer to the EU parliament position in order to find a compromise. I think a deal is possible and I hope we can finalise a first reading agreement under the Irish Presidency. We need a fast deal and this can give the opportunity to the Commission to focus on issues relating to the implementation.
We need to solve the practicalities and at the same time we need to help our fishermen to adjust to the new situation, because this is a radical change for the way we fish. We have to give all possible support to our fisheries sector and our administrations. I think we have positive news this morning and I hope that in the coming weeks, we can work together with the Parliament and the Council to facilitate the procedure to come to a first reading deal."
Commissioner Maria Damanaki met today a group of Members of the European Parliament from European outermost regions: Mr Gabriel Mato, Mr Luis Paulo Alves, Mr Younous Omarjee, Ms Maria do Céu Patrao Neves, Mr Patrice Tirolien, Mr Juan Fernando López Aguilar and Mr Maurice Ponga.
Commissioner Damanaki said: "Outermost Regions deserve differential treatment. That is why the Commission's proposals for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy fully take into account Specificities of Outermost Regions. In addition, both the Fisheries Council and the European Parliament support the idea to cover a wide range of extra costs and I proposed to increase by 50% the funding for the future period to better cover additional costs. I am also in favour to the creation of an Advisory Council for outermost regions, as foreseen by the positions expressed by both the European Parliament and the Council on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy."
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of May will take place in Brussels on 13th and 14th May 2013, under the presidency of Mr Simon Coveney, Irish Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Commissioner Maria Damanaki will represent the Commission for the Fisheries points on the agenda. A press conference will be held at the end of Tuesday's discussions. The public debates and the press conferences can be followed by video streaming.
Joint Statement by HR/VP Ashton and Commissioner Damanaki regarding Arctic Council decision on EU's observer status
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and EU Commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, Maria Damanaki made today the following statement:
"The EU welcomes the Arctic Council's decision on the EU's application for permanent observership.
The EU considers the Arctic Council a primary international forum for Arctic cooperation and looks forward to stepping up its engagement with the Arctic partners in tackling the challenges faced by this region of increasing importance.
Further to previous exchanges with the Canadian authorities the EU will now work expeditiously with them to address the outstanding issue of their concern."
Commissioner Damanaki meets Koji Sekimizu, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization
Commissioner Maria Damanaki met with Mr Koji Sekimizu, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in Brussels.
Commissioner Damanaki meets with Kostis Moussouroulis, Greek Minister of Shipping, Maritime Affairs & the Aegean
Commissioner Maria Damanaki met with Kostis Moussouroulis, Greek Minister of Shipping, Maritime Affairs and the Aegean, in Athens.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki had a working lunch meeting today with the EU Court of Auditors Chamber I "Preservation and management of natural resources", presided by the Dean, Mr Ioannis Sarmas, and members Mr Jan Kinst, Mr Michael Cretin, Mr Augustyn Kubik, Ms Rosa Budbergyte and Mr Cardiff.
The President of the EU Court of Auditors, Mr Caldera, also participated in the meeting. This was a good opportunity for Commissioner Damanaki to meet all members of Chamber I and engage in constructive cooperation during the meeting with them.
Commissioner Damanaki also had the chance to inform the Court on the on-going reform of the Common Fisheries Policy process and other areas of her portfolio. The Court has several on-going audits on the Fisheries and Maritime Affairs field, including a special report on aquaculture as well as a performance audit on DG MARE's policies and activities.
Commissioner Damanaki is counting on the Court of Auditors' contribution to the improvement of the overall efficiency of actions carried out in her policy area.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki met with Mr Robert Ashdown, Secretary General of Cruise Lines International Association, Europe.
Maritime affairs and fisheries
The European Commission has today adopted an Action Plan to revitalise the marine and maritime economy in the Atlantic Ocean Area. The Action Plan follows from the Atlantic Strategy the Commission adopted in 2011. It aims to show how the EU's Atlantic Member States, their regions and the Commission can help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the "blue economy", which has the potential to provide 7 million jobs in Europe by 2020. At the same time, the environmental and ecological stability of the Atlantic Ocean must be preserved.
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki,said: “The Atlantic plays an important role in Europe's history and identity. Our Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic will explore its immense potential for the future sustainable development of Europe. Together with our six Atlantic Members States, we will exploit the common challenges and opportunities the Atlantic offers us, from issues like coastal tourism and fisheries to renewable energy, mineral seabed exploration and marine biotechnology." Watch Commissioner Damanaki's statement .
The Atlantic area is home to numerous maritime activities. This includes both traditional activities, such as fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and shipping, as well as emerging ones such as offshore renewables and marine biotech. Individually, the Atlantic Member States (Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) are doing a lot in each of these areas and some have adopted their own respective maritime strategies. The Action Plan now encourages the Member States to work together: to share information, costs, results and best practices, as well as generating ideas for further areas of cooperation.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki took part in Executive-to-Executive meeting between the European Commission and the Russian Government, during which a broad range of issues were discussed.
In the framework of the visit, Commissioner Damanaki met with the Head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries Mr. Andrey Krayniy. Recognizing the importance of preventing, deterring and eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, they discussed the respective approaches applied by the EU and Russia to tackle the problem and cooperate with third countries. Mr. Krayniy affirmed the interest of the Russian Federation to build cooperation with the EU in combatting IUU fishing.
The promotion of regional cooperation between the EU and Russia in the Arctic region and the Black Sea will top the agenda of Commissioner Maria Damanaki's visit to Moscow on 21-22 March. Commissioner Damanaki is part of a visit of the College of the European Commission to Moscow, in which a series of meetings with Russian government top officials will take place, including a meeting with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
Commissioner Damanaki meets Stavros Kalafatis, Greek Alternate Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change
Commissioner Maria Damanaki met with Mr Stavros Kalafatis, Greek Alternate Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki met with Ms Mirtha María Hormilla Castro, Head of the Mission of Cuba to the EU.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki
Commissioner Damanaki participated in the "All aboard!" action campaign calling for the reform of Common Fisheries Policy. Commenting on the ongoing negotiations and the Council taking place on 13th and 14th May, the Commissioner stated:
"Substantial progress has been made in the negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the Commission’s proposal for a reformed common fisheries policy. The European Union is on the doorstep of a historical deal that would put fish stocks on the road to recovery, eliminate the wasteful practice of discarding and ensure that decisions are taken as close as possible to fishermen.
It is the responsibility of all institutions not to jeopardise a final deal because of disagreements over a few percentage points, one or two years, detailed technical rules or institutional power struggle. It is now time for both the European Parliament and the Council to make that extra final step towards each other that is necessary to come to a final agreement that will launch a new era of healthy fish stocks, viable fishing industries and more and better paid jobs for fishermen."
Commissioner Maria Damanaki met with Mr Dimitris Avramopoulos, Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Athens.
Brussels, New York, Jerusalem, New Delhi, Khartoum, Bali, Manila, Sao Paolo...Worlwide. One Billion Rising.
As part of the global campaign urging people to stand up on 14th February to protest violence against women and children, Commissioner Maria Damanaki made the following statement to lent her support:
"I greatly support this worldwide campaign aiming to raise awareness on the grave issue of violence against women and children. One in three women report having experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. It is our duty to put an end to this. Respect for human rights, for human dignity and equal treatment for all are fundamental principle that concern every single one of us."
Commissioner Maria Damanaki took part in the New Year's celebration event organised at the European Commission Representation Office in Athens.
"On 27th January we commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. This is a day to pay tribute to those who suffered and died under the Nazi-fascist regimes; but also an occasion to express our firm commitment to eradicate racism and fight against discrimination. Today we have the antidote to these scourges: it is strengthening democracy. Democracy means dialogue and inclusiveness; the respect of human rights and human dignity are at its foundation. It is our duty to nurture democracy, to be alongside those who fight for their political and human rights, in Europe and elsewhere, to protect the rights of minorities. In the difficult times that Europe is facing at the moment, when our society's fabric is under strain, we must to act in solidarity and remain vigilant so that those same ideas that led to the horrors of the past are not tolerated."