Commissioner Damanaki stated that the interest on the sustainability of the fisheries sector is twofold: on one hand, fishing activities support the economy along the coasts; on the other, fishing areas require protection and proper management. Balancing these often diverging interests is not easy, but it is the joint responsibility of all levels of governance.
The fisheries reform is moving ahead. Both the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament have expressed support for the key principles put forward by the Commission. As Commissioner Damanaki said: "They agree that we only should fish at sustainable levels; that we should gradually stop discarding; that it doesn’t make sense to micro-manage every detail from Brussels. They too want a policy that is more adaptive, more region-specific and stronger on the international arena."
Underlining the need to fast-track the negotiations, the Commissioner invited all parties to approach them with an open mind so as to strike a workable deal on all outstanding issues. The Irish Presidency plans to finalise a political agreement with Parliament before July. To achieve this, all institutions must move quickly, work fast and be open to compromise. Finally, Commissioner Damanaki urged all levels of government, including national members of parliament, to press this case with the ministers negotiating in Brussels and with the Members of the European Parliament to make this reform happen.