Live blogging of the night session of the EU Council meeting on Fisheries of 12-13 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. For the live blogging of the morning session on 12 June go here. Recorded videos around the Council at the Council TV news room.
[Live blogging ends here. See the nice picture of the national delegations waiting in the night for results. Will try to catch up with the final outcome in the morning.]
02.11 Danish Presidency: I would like to thank you all for your comments and the constructive approach. There is no doubt we are in a difficult position. When I am listening to delegations, positions are wide apart. Every time, a delegation made a statement in the opposite direction. The Presidency needs a small break, shorter than a football match. We will resume soon.
02.08 Damanaki: I would like to underline that the Commission proposal was much more ambitious than the text this morning and the text that we have in front of us now, and with the proposal from some member states it gets even worse. I won’t come in with my reservations now. I would like to try everybody here to be as ambitious as possible. Just a comment on the dates: For MSY, we can try better, and we can try more about the discard ban. I have heard some proposals which are postponing this again and again. We have three member (DK, Sweden, Germany) states and Norway to put a discard ban in the Skaggerak as of next year, and some countries only want to start in 2015 and want to go until 2020. Do you really think you need two years even for the first step. This is all I can say.
[The Danish Spokesman notes on Twitter that there is no qualified majority for the general approach after the interventions made below.]
02.07 Sweden: I share the comments made by UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland. We cannot come with a more watered down proposal. We cannot do this to European citizens. The proposal at the beginning of the day was already watered down, and now we water down even further.
02.04 Netherlands: I am very sorry to say that we cannot give an agreement on what is on the table today. The landing obligations should be ambitious. In Article 15, there are far too many exceptions. If the phasing in begins only in 2015, and the last region will only be covered in 2020, this would be a strange signal. Why should Western Waters and Med be treated differently in the phasing out? On CMO: We have problems with the storage support. Ecolabels should be responsibility of business, not governments.
02.02 Spain: On the crucial points, elimination of discards, we should not make it too rigid, to ideological. We support France, Ireland etc. We are the country most affected by this and we do not get quotas for bycatches.
01.59 Latvia: I have to tell you that Latvia cannot accept article 15.8 in which contrary to article 15.1 there is a reference to full documentation and the need to use CCTV instead of using adequate means in more broad terms. This is a very important matter to us, because it is disproportionate with regard to administrative burdens and costs. [makes drafting proposal] We are still concerned about wording regarding use of fish for human consumption. We have presented our proposals on Article 15.6 to you [reads wording proposal].
01.57 Finland: A very good compromise. Thanks for the long break, so we could watch soccer. We want discards banned as of 2014.
01.56 Poland: Article 15.8, a general wording on the monitoring of landings would be preferable, i.e. no reference to camera equipment. We support Ireland on article 1b.
01.55 Greece: We thank DK for satisfying our requests. 3 Problems: The understand the requirement for landings, but only for stocks of certain fisheries, if not we cannot implement this and it would gernerate costs. On Article 34: We need to support scrapping of vessels with aid. On 32a: There needs to be reference to UNCLOS. And we would like to replace “neighbouring countries” with “third countries”
01.52 UK: We are concerned about 15.1b. Like Germany, we are concerned the ambition bold on discards, and we were disappointed with the dates. As they are in brackets, this could have been a bad sign. We could give the impression that our ambition is to go for discard ban only for 2018, or even later for some delegations. We support Germany’s amendments on 15.1. We are grateful for the changes made regarding regionalisation.
01.50 Germany: These have been tough negotiations, and we are close to compromise. But some comment made so far doesn’t make our life easier. On 1c: We should avoid the impression that discards can only come with economic incentives. On 15.1: [Text proposal] ["Since discards will [before: may] no longer take place”].
01.47 Slovenia: Many proposals go in the right direction. But in Article 15.1b, the date has not been changed. We support dates in Article 15.1c. We welcome the de minimis changes, but we have not the possibility of the market exemptions that will not affect the total landing obligations of countries with smaller fleets. We need to raise the de minimis level, i.e. higher than 5%. We have to make an extra effort as these are solutions for the next 10 years.
01.46 Portugal: We are not happy with the new proposal as put forward by France. Plus, Member States should have regions of special protection in their own waters (?).
01.45 Estonia: The text is not quite perfect. My minister had a list of proposals earlier today, and non of those proposals have been taken into account. But we recognise to come to an agreement tonight. In order to we need to get back to original proposal in Article 35 para 2 (cf. Italy), to give advantages to countries that have tradable fishing concessions in place.
01.43 Belgium: Focussing on Article 15 (discards): The ammendments DK proposed are not acceptable. This has to be a gradual, phased-in approach. This is not reflected in the amendment. With regard to the timetable, it is not long enough. We want 2020 as an end date. On the de minimis rules and the percentages: We have asked for at least 10%, and this is not acceptable.
01.41 Italy: This is very satisfactory work, just one step away from the agreement. Just one point: For Italy, we need to return to the original wording of 35 para 2, so that it is in line with the new system of tradable concessions.
01.38 Ireland: I know it isn’t easy to get a compromise that everybody can accept. We have one change we request: On page 6, on top, article 15.1b, the current proposal is that from “the latest on 1 January 2015 and not later than 2018″, and we propose to change “at the latest from 2015 and the latest in 2020 for all other species”. The industry needs to adapt to the changed rules regarding discards. The issue of the current wording “for species defining the fisheries”, this would force us to land all cod, haddock, and saithe. This is not realistic. I know different countries have different concerns, but this is a real concern based on practical example.
01.36 Malta: The text is taking us in the right direction. However, we still feel that the package is right enough for us to accept it. In particular the problem of stocks shared with third countries. The draft doesn’t address our needs. We support the French proposal with regard to discards. We encourage the Presidency to continue its efforts.
01.32 France: I would like to express my thanks for having taken on board some of comments we have made. Nonetheless, we need to give a very clear signal regarding discards. On the timetable: For mixed fisheries, we need a more gradual timetable, i.e. 2020. We would also like to see an increase in TACs for the species concerned. The recital underlined in the text needs to get into the main body of the regulation. We also need an overall figure on discards in the basic regulation. We propose 10%, the rest should be regulated in the Multiannual Plans. On fleet aid: The compromise should not prejudice the outcome on the negotiations on this matter. (cf. art 34). The text does not include our request for an Advisory Committee for outermost regions, and we reiterate our request. We are close to a compromise.
01.30 Danish Presidency: I hope you were able to keep your heads clear and concentrate on the text. As presidency, I want to say we have come as far as possible. There is a possibility for the Council to take a step forward in the reform of the CFP. I would very much like to hear your comments.
01.08 Danish Presidency: This was a longer break than foreseen. But these questions are indeed very very difficult. And I hope you were able to do some other business in the meantime. Today we could set up a framework for a green fisheries policy in the European Union. The Presidency, together with the Commission, have tried to accomodate you and propose changes that should be in the text that has been circulated. I should inform you that in the document, if you look at page 9, there is change to article 17. This change will be replaced by a different change, which you have also been handed out, which is the correct change. If you are in doubt, please ask. Even if we agree on a general approach, there will be a number of questions to work through in the future, indicated by scare brackets, which concerns in particular discards and unwanted catches, which will be addressed in a high level technical group. I would very much like to underline as far as we can, to strike the right balance. We cannot get any closer to a compromise if we need to get everyone on board. I propose a reading phase for 15 minutes.
01.05 According to the spokesman, the Danish minister Mette Gjerskov just entered the meeting room, meaning the meeting should start soon. Webcast hasn’t started yet.
01.00 The spokesman of the Danish Presidency tweets: “Game plan – guess it will go down like this: Presidency to present compromise proposal, MS will get time to read it, then make-or-brake.” (1) “Alternative model: we continue to negotiate for a couple of more hours… Hope for a successful outcome of first option.” (2)
00.44 Since the end of the live streamed morning session that ended at around 13.30 (see my live blogging), the Danish Presidency and the member states have been in constant negotiations. The original time foreseen for the press conference following the Council meeting was 19.30, which shows that there were tough negotiations going on to get to a general approach. At 17.43, the spokesman expected that the official Council session would restart at 20.00. At 20.52, 22.00 was announced at the new time, which was then again delayed several times, until at 00.39 the end again seemed near.