European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

A progressive reform works together with a progressive use of subsidies

On 30th May, the European Parliament and EU Member States reached agreement on the main issues in the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), with very positive outcomes for the future of fish and the fisheries sector. One last regulation remains in the fisheries reform package: that governing the money. This is the one that will be voted in the fisheries committee of the European Parliament on 10th  July 2013,  the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The draft report on the EMFF defends the position of reintroducing money for fleet renewal which was removed in the last CFP reform in 2002. Most of the political groups oppose the measure and are trying to break up the coalition of the 2 MEPs of the 2 biggest political Groups in the EP (EPP and S&D) who are supporting this measure. Reintroducing it would make it possible to use public money to build new vessels, buy more efficient engines and transfer the ownership of a fishing vessel from one person to another. It would counteract the sustainability targets of the recently approved basic regulation of the new CFP. Different solutions to use the money for other measures benefiting the fisheries sector and all fishermen in compliance with the sustainability targets of the new CFP are possible. The Greens/EFA group support alternative ways to use the money from the EMFF: - Increasing product quality, safety and traceability are ways to modernise the fishing industry and increase profitability without increasing fishing capacity. -  Measures providing more money for data collection and control in order to help all fishermen - and not only a few - such as control and data collection. - To help fishermen and coastal communities increase the value of their catch – for example by supporting the Farnet programme (The European Fisheries Areas Network). On 11th April in the EP the Greens/EFA organised a conference, to discuss the measures that would allow better spending of the more than € 6 billion from the EMFF and help all fishermen instead of building new vessels. Together with Fish For the Future a cross-party group of MEPs and in close cooperation with the civil society movement, the Greens/EFA have actively campaigned to reform the CFP. Ahead of the vote on the EMFF they also keep explaining the problems with the current use of the fund and the long lasting benefit of using public money to rebuild healthy fish stocks and help all Europeans, not just fishing operators able to apply for subsidies. This call has been recently relayed by the publication of several studies condemning the current use of fisheries subsidies and pledging for radical reform in the use of public money. Following the vote on 10th July in the European Parliament, member states will aim to settle the outstanding issues regarding the EMFF at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 15 July. The intention is to agree on an overall general approach, complementing the partial general approach reached on this proposal last October. After the Council has adopted its general approach and the Parliament has adopted its position, the two institutions will enter so-called trilogue negotiations later this year. Alain Cadec, the Parliament’s rapporteur, wants to start negotiations immediately after the Committee vote, but many MEPs including Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur Raul Romeva are calling for a vote in Plenary before the trilogue negotiations can start. With the current model, EU fisheries subsidies have not been fairly allocated. The vote of tomorrow in the Fisheries Committee can be a turning point to go towards a better subsidy regime. The vote on the CFP in the European Parliament has paved the way towards sustainable fisheries in Europe. Let's now make history again: a progressive reform works together with a progressive use of subsidies.

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