Reform of the Common Market Organisation
Brussels, 19 March 2012
Dear President, dear Ministers,
I am happy that we can discuss the details of our proposal for a new Common Market Organisation. This proposal has a number of important features, and for me the number one feature is that we have to empower the sector so that they can better plan and manage their production and marketing. Our overall objective is to help the sector get a much higher return from the fish they catch or farm. This should ensure that more jobs on land are created – this is crucial for the future viability of our fishing communities.
I also believes that well structured professional organisations have a key role to play in the day-to-day implementation of a reformed market policy. They can help steer the production towards sustainable fisheries and aquaculture and better match supplies with market needs. This an important link to the discard ban. The EMFF is there to help with the financing of these improved organisational, production and marketing efforts.
Another important issue labelling. The labelling provisions we have foreseen will help fishermen get more value from the fish. This responds to an increasing demand by consumers to have reliable information about the products they buy. There are some mandatory labelling requirements, and there is also the possibility to add more information on a voluntary basis.
These provisions will give a competitive edge to production facilities that are close to the market. For example, indicating the date of catch will benefit small-scale fishermen and aquaculture producers, who get to the local market quickly and can show that their products are fresh. The additional elements added on a voluntary basis will enable producers to differentiate their products with their own selling points.
Common marketing standards will be substantially simplified to only those with commercial interest. Minimum marketing sizes will ensure better consistency with conservation policy. They will facilitate the functioning of the internal market and contribute to the level playing field since they will apply to all products marketed in the EU, whether they come from inside or outside the EU.
This is a key part of the jigsaw and I think we should use it to help unlock the potential of our industry on shore. Now I am interested to hear your views on these issues.