The European Commission today published a legislative package in response to the severe economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fishing industry. The proposed framework unlocks existing EU funding and market schemes to support affected fishers. The EU fishing industry welcomes the emergency measures proposed by the Commission to try to mitigate the adverse effects of those who are being directly threatened by the crisis and to calm the tension in our markets. The sector looks forward to a quick adoption by EU authorities allowing a speedy and flexible implementation of the provisions in the Member States. The Industry is disappointed that no extra-funding is included and is calling that this be addressed as a matter of urgency in light of the fact that otherwise the measures proposed will not be effective to cope with the unprecedented crisis.
The EU fishing sector has presented to European authorities the critical measures that have to be taken in order to overcome the operational, commercial, and safety problems that the sector has only begun to endure and which will inevitably and without doubt worsen in the coming weeks due to the protective measures taken against the spread of the COVID-19. The primary concern of the sector is the continuity of fishing activities and food supply to EU citizens. Measures are also needed for those vessels forced to cease operations.
The newly elected chair of the European Parliament Committee on Fisheries (PECH) Pierre Karleskind (Renew Europe, FR), was guest of honour at last week's Europêche General Assembly meeting to discuss the many pressing issues faced by the fishing sector.
The European fishing industry represented by Europêche met yesterday Mr Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. The newly elected Commissioner listened and exchanged views with fishing industry leaders on the challenges faced by the sector and on ongoing fisheries policy developments. Europêche assessed the talks with the Commissioner, who is committed to seek balance between the three dimensions of sustainability during his mandate, as open and constructive.
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.