In a press conference today, Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, explained the Commission’s decision to increase the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) with €500 million.
The additional funding is part of the Recovery Package and follows earlier EU support measures to alleviate the immediate socio-economic impact on the sector. The Commission will work closely with EU countries to ensure that the additional funding contributes to a swift recovery, in line with the European Green Deal and the ambitions of the common fisheries policy.
For many coastal communities, who strongly rely on fisheries for their livelihoods, the social-economic impact of the coronavirus crisis was – and still is – dramatic. Businesses suffered severe losses because of the lockdown and the disruption of the European seafood market. With measures including support for temporary cessation, storage aid and temporary state aid, the Commission had swiftly taken actions to avoid a worst-case scenario.
Now that economic activity is slowly picking up again, the Commission is moving to a second phase of action, which is to support the recovery. Last week, the Commission presented the Recovery Instrument, consisting of new financing raised on the financial markets (Next Generation EU) as well as a reinforced long-term budget for 2021-2027. As part of the proposal, the EMFF budget is strengthened with an additional €500 million. This is an increase of more than 8% compared to the budget initially proposed for the EMFF in 2018.
This additional money will feed Member States’ programmes for 2021-2024, frontloading financial support in the crucial first years of recovery. Member States will have to channel this investment to the objectives of the European recovery plan. The Commission will work closely with them during the preparation of the future generation of EMFF programmes.
With the recovery plan, the Commission wants to repair the short-term damage from the crisis by investing in a sustainable, inclusive and fair future for Europe. In this respect, investment supported by the EMFF should strengthen the resilience of the sector and contribute to the European Green Deal, including the 2030 Biodiversity and the Farm to Fork strategies, as well as the circular economy. Moreover, all EMFF funding should continue to promote the achievement of the economic, social and environmental objectives of the common fisheries policy.
Statement by Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius
Questions and Answers on the EU budget: the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy
Recovery plan for Europe
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
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