I chose the rather provocative question which of the two major proposals for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) – the discard ban or transferable fishing concessions – were most likely to fail in the EU Council or the European Parliament.
Apparently, this question got asked to Ms Damanaki and she has responded to it on video:
Here’s the transcript of her answer:
“What I can say is that I’m now working on the discard ban and I think that we are moving on. And I am rather more positive because I do not know about the Parliament but the Council has taken some steps forward because now we are discussing about how we are going to reach this ban. So I think that everybody now understands the necessity of the discard ban but we have to discuss between us and find a compromise on the practical solution and the step by step approach, fisheries by fisheries approach.
Referring to the concessions, I can see that there are a lot of concerns but mainly there are concerns about a possible problem of having concentration of the concessions or maybe having to disturb relative stability [“relative stability” means that the share of total catches that each member state can fish remains stable each year; Ron]. I think that we can give saveguards.
So, I am positive. I’m optimistic, in general.”
Having listened to a part of yesterday’s discussions in the EU Parliament’s fisheries committee on the CFP reform (video recording), I think that especially regarding the transferable fishing concessions – which means that fishermen who have fishing rights would be allowed to sell or lease these rights under certain conditions – Commissioner Damanaki will have to find some strong arguments regarding her “safeguards”, if not this proposal may fail in Parliament.
In general, I’m quite satisfied with the answer by the Commissioner. Good initiative by Debating Europe.