This blog is hosted on Ideas on EuropeIdeas on Europe Avatar

Live blogging: EU Council meeting on Fisheries of 12 June 2012 (morning session)

Live blogging of the morning session of the EU Council meeting on Fisheries of 12 June 2012 based on live stream (from English interpretation provided). May contain mistakes and miss certain aspects – check against recorded video! For background see my earlier post. Previous live blogging: 14 May 2012. Recorded videos around the Council at the Council TV news room.

13.35 End of live blogging for today.

13.34 Danish Presidency: I suggest we go to lunch, then the Presidency and the Commission can get together. [Here the live stream ended].

13.22 Maria Damanaki (EU Commissioner): I would like to thank the majority of the Council to be supportive for a real change. We have been working three years for this, including my and your predecessors. This is a decade opportunity. We cannot go for a reform with business as usual. With all the respect to your positions, I need to clarify my positions: If we do not agree on something on substance, there is no need to move on. Now, there is a consensus on aquaculture (cf. Finnish proposal), and we can reach it. On CMO, there is also a consensus. We need to keep an window for eco-labelling open but we could support Danish compromise. On Transferable Concessions, I understand that the majority is against this. But then we need alternatives for overcapacity, and I have not seen them. I will come back with my proposals for action plans to tackle overcapacity. Let’s find a compromise here, at least if we cannot be concrete on overcapacity, let’s talk about engine power (in kiloWatts). So far, only one member state has come with a report contained in the Control regulation until the end of May as demanded by the law. On MSY: It seems to me that there are a lot of MS supporting the Commission proposal for 2015. I was surprised that Malta, France and others are wanting to link MSY to behaviour of our neighbours. This is something that we cannot accept. We cannot leave our decisions to be taken by Libya, Egypt, or Russia. I cannot agree to Maltese proposal at all. This jeopardises our policy. Let us discuss find ways to make our neighbours more cooperative. On discards: I appreciate the proposals for a phasing in introduction of this. We need more technical work to find solutions. I can agree on a gradual approach, and for incentives for selectivity. I can agree on additional quotas as incentives in order to persuade our industry to cooperate. This is something to explore to get to transitional measures. We are also willing to explore bycatch quotas if it is necessary to implement this. But we cannot link landing obligations and multiannual plans as a prerogative as proposed by Slovenia. We cannot accept that, this is not a change at all. The real problem there is the disagreement between Council and Parliament on the competencies regarding the management plans. We cannot be taken hostage by this. We need a clear deadline in the basic regulation. These were the red lines of the Commission.

13.19 Croatia: We support MSY, but this is not yet clear for mixed fisheries. Articles 2+9 have to be reconsidered. We support Malta and other member states to take into account regarding third countries. On Multiannual Plans: They are the right place to tackle discards and MSY, taking into account regional specifities. The weakest species should not be the limiting the mixed fisheries. Fishing concessions should be voluntary. The discard ban should be implemented gradually. More work on the fish fund is needed, e.g. on simplicity of implementation rules. We support the changes in the CMO regulation with regard to Producer Organisation recognition.

13.15 Denmark: A general approach today will be a positive signal. Our most important points: We support MSY compromise. On discard, this is an important part of the reform. The basic regulation should have clear obligation for the ban with clear time frame. We support presidency compromise on discards. Multiannual plans are fundamental, and the Presidency proposal is balanced regarding content. Regionalisation: Support to compromise. It is important to balance capacity and fishing possibilities. There should be annual reports on this from each member state. On CMO: We support the compromise. On the fund: Support progress report.

13.14 Slovakia: We support the fish fund progress report, and the support for aquaculture. In the future, landlocked countries need to be taken into account more strongly.

13.12 Luxembourg: The MSY dates are acceptable to us, but that is the minimum level of ambition. Discard reduction needs to be reached, but we acknowledge that there are different situations depending on the fisheries.

13.07 Cyprus (next Council Presidency): We agree with CMO proposal, except for the use of delegated acts, priority should be on implementing acts. On CFP, we support the MSY compromise. We should also consider joint stocks with third countries. On landing obligations, we are in favour of a gradual reduction of discards. The obligation to land all catches will not solve the problem, especially for non-quota text. On regionalisation: We do not agree to the use of delegated acts for measures coming from member states. We support the transferable concessions system proposed by the presidency. Alternative measures could lead to adapting the fishing fleets, i.e. permanent withdrawal of vessels. In Cyprus, this worked. On the fund, the new regulation is quite different from the past, but there are a number of issues such as aquaculture, small-scale fisher and infrastructure need to be addressed under our presidency, which will chair the next council.

12.59 Greece: We support the compromise on MSY, if it is base on adequate scientific data and takes into account social and economic aspects. We support a gradual drop in discards. Taking into account the many islands and landing docks in Greece is necessary, as the volume of discards and monitoring would be out of proportion administratively. More selective gear is more important, and the sector could accept this. On regionalisation: We support the compromise proposal, taking into account the particular situations in the regions. When member states submit recommendations, the Commission should apply them through implementing acts. Mixed fisheries is an obvious challenge: We need further discussions. On transferable concessions: We do not want this to be obligatory, in line with the presidency compromise. On the external dimension, article 42 a (or 8) should be reformulated. On aquaculture: Discussions seem to be progressing in the right direction. We need to support aquaculture based on scientific data and environment protection. We support the CMO compromise. It should still take into consideration for Producer Organisations. We are anxious that there is no clear references for dealing with EU products and third country products. Regarding the fish fund progress report, it reflects the discussions we have had so far.

12.57 Czech Republic: As a landlocked country, we give great importance to support of aquaculture with new fisheries funds. Article 46 on compromise text on EMFF should stay as close to the present version as possible

12.52 Austria: We were looking for something more ambitious. MSY before Johannisburg was part of UN agreements. If we go for MSY by 2020, we have to make sure that good environment should also be achieved until then. On overcapacity, we remind what the Court of Auditors said: Fishing capacities need to consider the real catch capacities. Discard ban need to be achieved as soon as possible, and focus should be on selective gear. We support landing obligations, but we should not create incentives for that. We are open for transferable concessions. A good compromise on origin labelling  has been found. On the EMFF progress report: There is a majority of member states supporting aquaculture, including inland aquaculture (cf. Salzburg Conference). There is still too much red tape in minor projects.

12.48 Bulgaria: We fully support MSY objectives, extended to 2020, keeping in mind the specific features of the regions and the cooperation with third countries. We have heard Malta’s statements. Situation in the Black Sea is that MSY and TACs have not been defined yet. The presidency idea to introduce the de minimis rule good. We also support the Slovenian textual clarifications. We support a regional council for the Black Sea, and presidency strengthening of this in the text. Third countries should be included in the RACs in the near future. Advisory councils should receive aid from European Union, including the Black Sea AC.

12.40 Portugal: The last presidency text from the Presidency might lead to a broad consensus. We share position of France and other delegations: On MSY and discard bans – these are linked. They should be implemented on 2020 at the latest, depending on the knowledge we have on the stocks. Presidency proposals on MSY are acceptable. Regarding agreement with stocks shared with 3rd countries we agree. Multiannual plans could take better account mixed fisheries. On landing obligation, we should make sure that vessels can go out and fish. But we need a landing obligation. We support use of landings for charitable purposes. Basic regulation should only give general guidelines. We need to take account of RAC recommendation. Decentralisation is important. On transferable concessions, the presidency proposal is a good compromise. On sustainability, we propose these proposals. We want create of advisory councils for outermost regions. Compromise on Common Market Organisation is fine, but some points could be improved: Storage aid should be kept, against phasing out by 2020. Consumers should also be kept informed, but this should be in the general food regulations. We should not put addition burdens on Producer Organisations. The CFP reform has to be consistent, with regard to EU stocks and stocks in external waters. On the EMFF: Young fishermen should get support. Modernisations of vessels, new constructions of vessels should be supported. Aquaculture support needs to be extended.

12.34 Romania: We agree on ambitious CFP, but it should come with pragmatic measures. We should balance, social, economic, and environmental sustainable. On regionalisation: Pay more attention to each region. Coastal and small scale fisheries is a priority for us. This should be in the basic aims of the CFP. We want to support aquaculture, including the non-ecological aquaculture. We re-support the two joint Member States declarations. We support MSY for 2015 where possible. However, 2014 is too ambitious where we share resources with third countries, such as in the Baltic Sea. Unilateral measures only to Romanian and Bulgarian fleets will sanction our fleets.This needs to be addressed in basic regulation. We need clear structures and decision-making processes at regional level. We need to strengthen role of regional advisory councils. A black sea RAC would help cooperation with third countries.

12.31 Finland: Three priorities to specificy the basic regulation text: 1) The specific objectives should be complemented by promotion of small-scale fisheries. 2) Fishing activity without discard ban should be analysed through standardised catch composition text, not CCTV. 3) Salmon should be protected from 2014, stopping discards as soon as possible. On the fish fund: the presidency progress report is good. The aquaculture demands from Member States should be taken into account.

12.24 Estonia: On the table is a realistic compromise on MSY. We are for a abolishing discards and the development of measures to implement the ban. Fish that is caught should be used for human consumption. We are against specific control measures in the basic regulation. We cannot rule out observers and CCTV in specific areas, but having this as horizontal measures goes to far. On regionalisation: This is an important priority. We support Presidency compromise if Member States have right for additional measures. In the compromise proposal we do not understand the transferable concessions: They may not suit every country, but this was a backbone of the Commission proposal. The compromise does not address problems of overcapacity and is penalising countries which are already using transferable concessions. We have to expand quota swaps with to relations with third countries. Article 16.5 should make reference to that. On CMO: Two problems: a) storage aid should be kept beyond 2020 with restriction to scope of application, i.e. in crisis situations. b) Consumers should get information on catch information. Conclusion: The Presidency has not wished to go into discussion with EMFF: We see a problem in the EMFF implementation similar to the rural development fund, raising the bureaucratic burden.

12.19 Latvia: We support presidency compromise on Maximum Sustainable Yield (2015 only where possible). We do not support discard ban for Baltic Sea for 2014. This would lead to problems on member state and EU level. 2015 is more realistic. If discards are banned, quotas should be increased, because manadatory landing requirements concern all. On Article 15.6, we do not agree that small fish may only be used for industrial purposes and not human consumption. Discard ban control is unreasonably burdensome. Member states should decide on their own how to control discard bans. On regionalisation: Article 17 – common decisions of member states in a particular region should be binding at European level. On fishing concessions: We support compromise proposal, but we also do not have problem with a mandatory system. It is unacceptable for new bureaucratic burden to formulate national plans for aquaculture. We are against scrapping processing and fleet modernisation aid. Storage aid should be continued.

12.09 Lithuania: Presidency managed to improve the text. On MSY: Lithuania supports compromise, including second date of 2020. This is ambitious, but flexible. We should take into account MSY with regard to third countries. On discards: We would like a degressive introduction of the ban to reduced ban to use bycatch as far as possible. We need clear and proportional exceptions to the ban, for example on small-scale bycatch in coastal fisheries in the Baltic Sea. We also need a sufficient transition period so that the sector can move to more selective gear. We are not sure that we are read in time to apply the ban in the Baltic under the given the time plans. On Multiannual Plans: They need to be very specific based on available data. Sustainability is important: We need bycatch quote where quotas are not sufficient, they should not be deducted from target species quotas. We are against transferable concessions. We propose not to be able to use unwanted catch for human consumption. A discard ban would not be likely to succeed, it needs to be accompanied by incentives for more selective fishing. The basic regulation should not contain detailed control rules. On regionalisation: Specific measures related to common recommendation to member states should be adopted through delegated acts. On transferable concessions: In favour of voluntary scheme, Member States should decide themselves for minimum time limits and on which species this should apply. In some cases, this may of help with regard to capicity, but it is difficult to imagine a single TFC scheme, given the different sizes of the fleets.

12.01 Italy: on discards: scope of landing obligations in Med is unclear in presidency text. We should make clear that this applies only for species for there is a minimum landing size in the current Med fisheries regulation. And the timing is to tight for the Mediterranean. And some technical point, which I will send to Commission and Council in writing. I noted the majority of member states on fishing concession. We should however keep the original drafting of article 35 on the management of fishing capacity. The text has to stay exactly as in the original COM proposal. The presidency text on concessions has enlarged the COM proposal, removing the reference to the Med management plans. The Med regulation currently says that member states are competent to draft management plans for their fishing zones. They were confirmed by the COM proposal, but are gone in the current draft. The text has to confirm member states ability to regulate Med fisheries. Finally, on article 15.8: Landed fish should be usable for charitable purposes as in the COM proposal. On the CMO: We should maintain the possibility of article 45 of the COM text regarding voluntary labelling on origin and traceability of products. This was just a summary of the most important problems we have.

11.58 Hungary: We basically support the general approach. We support progress report of DK presidency on the fish fund. Four areas need further negotiations: The EMFF resources should support freshwater stock. The EMFF should finance water habitat not just in Natura 2000 areas but in all fresh water areas. The EMFF should support aquaculture, and the details of the funding should be in the hands of member states. On CMO: One key aspect is to develop market of fresh fish market, this needs mandatory regulation of labelling of defrozen products.

11.53 Poland: A lot of the proposed amendments move in the right direction. On CMO: We support the current presidency text. On the fund: We need clear criteria for the distribution of resources to different countries. We support regionalisation, MSY, optional fishing concession as in the presidency text. However, we disagree on discards and environment. Environmental legislation should be referenced. Total reduction of discards is not possible. We should have achievable goals, just mention”as much as possible”. We need more selective fishing gear, and this has to have priority, not just in the recitals. On the landing obligations (Article 15), we should not have micromanagement (paragraph 4) in the basic regulation. We need to prevent a market in undersized fish. We support keeping paragraph 8. We can accept the timeframe for the baltic, pelagic fish 2014, 2015 for cod. On the long term plans: They must full reflect the share of competencies between insitutions. We need to be quick because Poland plays against Russia in football tonight.

11.44 Belgium: We all agree on goals of CFP. We need a sustainable fishing sector. On the path to that, there are differences of opinion. In the presidency draft, there are a number of points we support. The text on CMO is very balanced, we are very much satisfied. We would however change two points: Each MS should decide on options for intervention mechanism. Support should be made throughout the whole programming period. On the new fisheries fund: This reflects MS position. On basic regulation, we support presidency proposal: It is positive to give MS the choice for fishing concessions. Fleets with TFCs should not receive preferential treatment. We can support the MSY proposal, but have to address mixed fisheries and stocks without sufficient data. On regionalisation: The current text should tie in more closely with Sceveningen (??) group. Commission should take over decisions taken unanimously on a regional level. On RACs, we are in favour of keeping the industry majorty (2/3) in these bodies. Landing obligation is most sticky point: We have been critical on how this issue has been approached. The European fishing sector, WWF, and science shares some of our concerns. Undesired catches should be avoided as much as possible. Measures should be achievable by the sector. Processing of discards on land have to be seen in terms of effective stock management. There are insurmountable problem with mixed fisheries when the quotas for one stock are exhausted. A de minimis rule is a step in the right direction, but does not solve the issue of choke (?) species. Solution: Getting to maximum selectivity, with support of the new fund. Our own rules should not lead to more discards and bycatch. We should test our measures through the STCEF. We need a reasonable time period for the sector.

11.35 Spain: There are some aspects of the compromise that aren’t quite right now, e.g. the discard ban. On Damanaki: We hope we find solutions for the complicated problem of the discard ban. On Common Market Organisations: We are positive on the Commisison proposal. We should keep storage aid. On consumer information: Date of catch labelling should be voluntary. On EMFF: Good work of the presidency, we see our position reflected. Some aspects are still sensitive: We need greater support for marketing and processing industry. We should not forget small-scale fisheries (15m, 24h at sea). On socio-economic dimension: The new CFP must contain a social policy, also in the short term. We need discussions for temporary secession policy. Finally, on the reform of the basic regulation based on latest compromise proposal: On MSY, we support 2015 whereever possible and 2020 at the latest. However, on mixed fisheries, where we support MSY for all fisheries, not on a stok. Keep exception for 100 miles protection zone for outermost regions. On Multiannual plans [missed]. On Advisory Council, we support AC for aquaculture. On fishing concessions: We support this mechanism as in the Commission proposal with the exception for the small-scale fleet. We need to maintain article 31 of original Commisison proposal. If this is not done, we are not in line with the treaties. On landing obligations: This an ambitious reform. We support the objectives, but the timing is problematic for us. A high percentage of discards comes from the fact that fishing rights given to countries are not in line with their amount of fishing. We need a pool of quotas for those who do not manage to reduce unwanted catches. We support Ireland, France and Malta. The transfer of quotas between countries would also reduce problem of discards. We can’t be the only ones penalised as in the present compromise proposal. On multiannual plans (article 9+11), we need to clarify the term “significant stocks” with “target species”

11.29 Ireland: We have come a long way from the Commission proposal. I am close to support the Council general approach. On regionalisation, MSY are much more coherent now. We should clarify (in line with UK) how to deal with mixed fisheries. It’s good that fishing concessions is voluntary. I want an end for discards. It is however difficult to see how the present presidency approach would be acceptable to the fishing industry. Without that, there will be a deep enforcement burden. We suggest a new approach: A phased implementation approach over the next five years for mixed fisheries, including juvenilie fish. The basic regulation would take a phase approach with a start and end date for individual stock. The so-called end of the line would be in sight. I have circulated our proposal. This will come with a generous additional quota allocation in the first year, based on relative stability. This approach can work for us and the industry. On the CMO: I agree with France + Damanaki: we should leave the door open for eco-labelling

11.21 Germany: Today is the question whether there will be a fundamental change and an ambitious reform. We have to stop overfishing and waste effectively. The Presidency proposal is on the right path. We have developed the Commission’s initial approach and it is now ready to put in place. On a few important points: We welcome fact that MSY is based on Johannisburg discussions. We support landing and discard provisions. We think a binding timeline is essential. On marine protected areas: The EU has obligations also to fishing outside EU waters, such as western Africa. Rules for vessels within EU waters should apply to those fishing outside EU waters. Quota stability should be kept. It is important to have MSY where there is sufficient scientific evidence until 2015. On unwanted catches, including birds, data has to be improved. New bycatch quotas are a critical point: We should not reward  member states that had no discard rules in the past. On consumer issues: Consumers need to be able to select sustainable products. On the EU level, there should be mininum criteria for eco-labelling for fish. This has to be covered in the fisheries funds. We also support aid for leaving the fishing sector, and to support aquaculture. We also welcome that sustainability has been taken up by scientific community. But we could have simpler, less bureaucratic system for the EMFF. The presidency proposal for aquacultre is not enough, Finnish proposal better. The funding of all instruments is part of the next financing period, where we want limits to 1% of GDP.

11.16 Slovenia: Good draft compromise proposal. It is overall acceptable. Two points are important: Transferable Concessions and landing obligation. TFCs should stay voluntary, to take account different situation in Member States. On discard ban: We support obligation to land all catches in case of industrial fisheries. We support discard ban in Basic Regulation with clear timeline. However, if non-regulated stocks (non-quota fish) are included too, specific characteristics of regional fisheries should be addressed in multiannual plans. Non-regulated stocks coverage regarding discards. should not enter into force until those management plans are. Small fisheries sector should be excluded, as their discards are negligible. In the case of Slovenia, we are talking about 10 tons of discards only. Therefore, also fishing gear with few discards should be excluded. Slovenia does not oppose sustainable reform, but the implementation has to lead to real progress and not just burden on fisheries that is already sustainable today. National Strategic Plan should not be a precondition for EMFF money. On aquaculture we support the proposal. On EMFF we just have some small issues. We support Malta regard MSY & third countries.

11.11 Malta: The present draft text has several flaws. It does not cover stocks managed together with 3rd countries. We have submitted an amendment proposal for Article 2.2 on common stocks. MSY should be done in agreement with these 3rd countries. This is in line with the Council conclusions on the external dimension of the CFP. Several countries have supported this amendment ahead of this Council, in particular Med, Baltic, Black Sea countries. We expect that this is included, not just in a Council statement, but in the Basic Regulation. I support French Minister on discards. Support Finnish, French, Slovenian (and more) position.

11.01 France: I fully subscribe to the objectives set out. However, we have make sure objectives and measns are specific and can be applied. On CMO: We are close to an agreement. Two amemendments: We want a European framework for labelling, including ecolabelling. Against use of bycatch. Support storage aid until 2020. On MSY: 2015, where possible is a good approach. On regionalisation: No objections, as long as not regulted via delegated acts. TFCs should be optional. Each Member State should face its own responsibilities. If some think privatisation of seas is the solution, that’s their decision. On discards and landing obligations: We have serious concerns about immediate zero discards. This can’t be a basis for negotiation. We need practical solutions. There are major concerns, including the security of our vessels. On unwanted catches: Very often, the discard issue is linked to lack of proper legislation. It hasn’t evolved with the fisheries. We need a realistic approach, on how to achieve zero discard. This can only come with a lot of financial support to modernise the fleets. We need clear principles on how achieve this, including selective gear, in particular in mixed fisheries. Also the necessary structures on land have to be set up. On discard: We wouldn’t want to micro-manage this. The Basic Regulation should just put objectives. Unclear, how the Mediterranean should be dealt with. On MSY, presidency is moving in the right direction. However, mixed fisheries should be taken into account. Look back at article 9.3, we need a degree of flexibility. On stocks managed with third countries, these countries also need to support MSY (Malta amendment). Multiannual plans should not contain any relative measures, but should measures for stock management and discards. Link between CFP and environmental legislation: We need a global view on the integrated maritime policy. Not in favour of delegated acts for Natura 2000 and regionalisation. The outermost regions should get an advisory council, and there should be special protection zones. Go back to initial drafting of Article 35.

10.56 Netherlands: I support your proposal to agree on general approach. Presidency proposal good basis. On MSY: The compromise is acceptable, but it can not be watered down any further. As many species as possible until 2015, the rest at latest in 2020. A landing obligation is key to sustainable fisheries. This is a starting point. In addition, we need technical measures and selective gear to achieve this goals, e.g. pulse fishing. There are a few points to add: We need clear, realistic time frames for each fishery branch to be agreed with the fisheries stakeholders. There should be without bycatch quotas. It must apply for all fisheries branches, including unregulated species. We need to have an overview over the costs and the effects on the sector and on the . We should work together with fisheries organisations to see how to move on with landing obligations. I support multiannual plans compromise. On regionalisation, we need the the Regional Adivsory Councils, but decisions need be stay in co-decisions. On TFCs, we need a European framework. Storage aid has to be onyl for crisis situations. On EMFF: These funds should be used for innovation, sustainability

10.49 Sweden: On MSY, the Presidency text is not ambitious enough. We have to get there before 2020. This is also an economic necessity. We want to support the income of our fishermen, by achieving MSY by 2015. Another priority is the discard ban: “As soon as possible” is not enough, we need to be more ambitious than the presidency compromise. We need a final deadline for a total ban. Discards has to be eliminated, not just reduced. When talking about mixed fisheries, we need a compulsory system with transferable concessions. This would be a useful tool to survive a discard ban. The would be quota compilation that would match catches. With a discard ban, we need to work on undesired bycatches. We need more selective gear. But there will be bycatches, still. On multiannual management plans: Multispecies plans should be the principle tool with an ecosystem approach. The most threatened species should define the limits. Disappointed that this has been erased from the Presidency draft. We also need to ensure coherence between CFP and environmental and trade legislation. This needs to be in the basis regulation. On Common Market Organisation: Certain measures need to be phased out, for example storage aid by 2019. On a voluntary consumer nformation: No need to regulate that in the market regulation. Conclusion: I am concerned by the disappointing level of ambition. On the fish fund: There is modernisation foreseen so far, which will increase capacity. Fund should support reform process, e.g. selective gear.

10.43 United Kingdom: Welcomes the new French minister. Today is day for a big step on a radical reform. Changes that are needed: Regionalisation is a key part to engage fishermen. We must move the one size fits all approach. Member states should work together regionally to make management plans Two points: The recommendations from MS should be taken into account when the Commission uses implementing power. On discards: We want the CFP to eliminate discards as soon as possible. We want binding wording and clear dates. This terrible waste brings public anger. Start eliminatation from 1 January 2014. On bycatch provision: This should not be in the DK compromise proposal as it is now. On MSY: Overfishing was a central failing of the current CFP. We must have clear legal commitment to achieve MSY as soon as possible, supporting the presidency text. The legal provisions must address complexity of mixed fisheries. Article 9 does not yet reflect what is needed with regard to multiannual plans. Aims are not yet clear. On member states obligations on environmental legislation: Article 12 of the presidency text is disappointing. On common market organisation: We are broadly happy with presidency proposal. Objectives for POs need to be clear, measureable, and achievable. However, the objectives should be flexible and optional. We should remove storage aid.

10.27 Commissioner Damanaki: We have covered a lot of ground in previous debates. Having in mind the different opinions of member states, it was not easy to have a draft general approach. Before, I have to clarify the Commission position. My assessment of the draft general approach is mixed. The positive aspects: There is an ambitious outline for the external policy, including the connection to internal fish policy and human rights. On aquaculture we have good package, to unlock the potential of freshwater and marine aquaculture. My concerns: On MSY: In 2008, all Member States agreed that there are serious flaws in our policy, that the majority of stocks is overfished. So all of you agreed on the need for a root and branch reform. Now we have to face great expectations by our citizens. So let us all wonder: Are we going to fulfil these expectations today? What we have in front of us goes partly in that direction. But the ambition of 2008 is not yet here. On the discard ban: We have made progress on the discard ban, i.e. landing obligations. Without that, there is no sustainability. Without sustainability, there is no reform. We need a binding legislation on the discard ban. We need concrete language and clear objections. There will be NO reform without the discard ban. Your draft should make clear that the discard ban comes with the entry into force of the basic regulation. We should not link the discard ban with the multiannual management plans. We can do this decision today. If we don’t do it, this is business as usual. I understand that there are a lot of practical problem with landing obligations, such as the need for bycatch quotas. We need the right instruments to address this. We need to incentivise change of behaviour, including possible additional quotas. On MSY again: This is not a new commitment, we agreed on this 30 years, 10 years ago, six years ago. It looks like procrastination. I take note that the draft text is rather reluctant, slowing down the process up to 2020. You seem to be choosing a slower growth path. I am glad that some Member States think like me, that 2020 is too far in the future. We have to act more swiftly. On transferable concessions: You are now going in the direction of no effective fleet management tool at all. There is nothing binding to solve overcapacity. There is just one reference in the text linked to funding for some future Council discussion. This is not acceptable for us. We need to address overcapacity in the Basic Regulation. Without that, we will not address the productivity of the fleet. And the Court of Auditors has complained about the bad use EU funds, without targets and conditions. On Regionalisation: You have proposed an alternative approach. I welcome your ideas on that. Parliament and Council have to set the general guidelines for fisheries. On the Common Market Organisations: I congratulate the DK presidency for progress. I will address measures for consumers: We need to inform consumers about the food the buy, and fish should be no exception. Fishermen who want to tell consumers more on a voluntary basis should be allowed to do so, and we should support this. Ecolabels are a good example, with several approach possible. We should provide a legal basis, so that the legislator could in the future define minimum conditions for ecolabel. Let’s keep the door open. On the Fisheries Fund: Thanks to DK Presidency for progress report on the EMFF. Fundings should contribute to reform and to growth and jobs. In total, there are 5 million jobs in “blue economy”. Our goal should be getting such a fund over the next months. The COM proposals are not set in stone, they can be improved. I am ready to listen to new and better ideas.

10.24 DK Presidency: We have held 3 thematic orientation debates. In March, on discards, in April on Regionalisation and transferable concessions, and in May on Maximum Sustainable Yield. In March we had an agreement on the external dimension of the fisheries policy. What I am look for today is to look at the three CFP proposals (Basic regulation, common market organisation, the fisheries fund) in a joint debate. The negotiations on the fisheries fund also depends on the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework. Our discussion today should focus on issues that need a political debate, discard ban, MSY, content of multiannual plans and regionalisation. There will however be other points we will have to work on in the future (cf. presidency summary document in my previous blog post)

10.23 Danish Presidency introduces issues on the agenda.

10.19 Danish Minister Gjerskov announces start of meeting for 10.20 on Twitter.

10.15 Council does not seem to be in hurry. Live streaming still has not started.

10.05 Live stream has not started yet. Live blogging will begin soon.

2 Responses to Live blogging: EU Council meeting on Fisheries of 12 June 2012 (morning session)

  1. Pingback: Live blogging: EU Council meeting on Fisheries of 12-13 June 2012 (night session) | Polscieu

  2. Pingback: Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy: General approach of the Council | Polscieu

Subscribe to a fortnightly email featuring posts from Ideas on Europe hosted blogs

UACES and Ideas on Europe do not take responsibility for opinions expressed in articles on blogs hosted on Ideas on Europe. All opinions are those of the contributing authors.