European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
Brussels, 19 March 2012
Dear President, dear Ministers,
Thank you for this opportunity to open the orientation debate on the key priorities of the EMFF. This is one of the EU funds aiming at achieving the Europe 2020 goals of creating jobs and growth.
We have tabled an ambitious set of proposals for the reform of the CFP. This reform will be supported financially by the new fund. Our aim is to assist the fisheries sector to introduce the changes needed to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability.
The EMFF is designed to foster jobs and growth in the sector. There is a strong focus on innovation: we wish to support the promotion of new ideas or products, as well as new ways of doing business or providing a new service. The EMFF will also support eco-innovation. Funding will be available for all the new ideas that can reduce the impact of fishing activities on the environment, increase the selectivity of fishing, and generate less discards. Innovation will also be stimulated if scientists and fishermen can co-operate, thus creating a better common understanding about the changes that are necessary.
The new Fund will focus on people. It will help the fishing sector to embrace the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy while, at the same time, offering new opportunities for fisheries communities to create new jobs and boost economic growth. Part of our approach in the EMFF proposal is the creation of community-led local development – this will be based on the current experience within Axis 4 of the EFF. This will require the participation of fishermen to help identify the opportunities that exist for their community.
The EMFF will therefore invest more than before in fishermen. If we want operators to develop new activities inside and outside the fisheries sector, then we need to provide training for new skills. We will support vocational training, re-qualification inside or even beyond the sector, and life-long learning. We will offer support to spouses of self-employed fishermen, recognising the importance of their traditional role in family business, and counting on that as a driver for future growth.
On aquaculture let me stress that we want to support aquaculture investments and in addition to that also innovative ideas. We are soon going to meet to discuss this specific issue at an aquaculture conference which Niki Berlakovich and I are co-organising near Salzburg We have put on the table a financial proposal that makes economic sense and will help deliver reform. In the present economic climate we have to know that the money we spend will produce a return on investment and contribute to the sustainable development of the fishing industry and the fishing communities.
I hope to be able to count on your support to ensure that the Commission’s proposals for the EMFF remained focused on the necessary elements to ensure the success of the reform of the CFP. I thank you for your attention and look forward to your comments.