The newly elected chair of the European Parliament Committee on Fisheries (PECH) Chris Davies (Renew Europe, UK), the Director-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), João Aguiar Machado, and DG MARE Director, Veronika Veits, were guests of honour at this week's Europêche General Assembly meeting to discuss the many pressing issues facing the fishing sector today.
The Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament has voted yesterday on the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) that will cover the budgetary period 2021-2027. Europêche appreciates the strong stand of the Parliament against the 5% budgetary cut proposed by the European Commission to compensate for the upcoming Brexit gap in the EU budget. The Parliament has called instead for a 10% budget increase (total envelope of €7.74 billion in current prices) compared to the Commission’s proposal to face the many upcoming challenges for the sector. Furthermore, Europêche welcomes the efforts made by the Committee to deliver their position on the new fund before the end of the current legislative term to avoid any delays as well as their focus on the socio-economic sustainability of the fishing fleet.
The Secretary General of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca), Javier Garat, has been re-elected as President of the European Fisheries Association, Europêche. The election was unanimously agreed upon by the members of Europêche during the General Assembly held yesterday in Brussels. The Dutch representative, Gerard van Balsfoort, President of the Pelagic Freezer-Trawlers Association (PFA), and the French delegate, Marc Ghiglia, Chief Executive of the United Fishing-Vessel Owners’ Organisation of France (UAPF) have also been re-elected as vice-presidents. Europêche, the foremost trade body representing the fishing industry in Europe, continues relying on the expertise of the managing team to positively contribute and address the many challenges ahead faced by the European fishing sector.
The European Commission has published yesterday the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) as part of the package of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The new fisheries fund will cover the budgetary period 2021-2027 with a financial envelope of €6.14 billion. This represents a 5% drop compared with the current EMFF budget (2014-2020) mainly to compensate the upcoming Brexit gap in the EU budget. Europêche calls on co-legislators to adopt the new fund before the end of the current legislative term, increase the budget allocation for sustainable fisheries, ease access to funding for all fishermen and enlarge the scope of the priorities proposed by the Commission.
The European fishing industry represented by Europêche voiced concerns in the European Parliament (EP) over the almost total lack of implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014-2020. The EUR 6.4 billion fund has not been operational for more than three years after its adoption (15 May 2014) and only now it is starting to be used by the Member States. In fact, although the EMFF is essential to achieve the ambitious objectives set out in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), up until September 2017, only 1.4% of the fund has been used. The sector also called for a post-2020 specific, flexible and simplified fisheries fund, with a larger budgetary allocation and much less bureaucracy, allowing its full use from the very beginning.