MEPs agree on significant financial support increase for EU fisheries
- EU fisheries’ budget must meet the needs of the sector
- Better promotion and sustainable development of aquaculture
- More focus on specific needs of small-scale coastal fishing and outermost regions
Parliament endorsed improved measures for the future European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, safeguarding sustainable fish stocks and fishermen’s livelihoods.
MEPs agreed on a significant budget increase proposal for the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund for the 2021-2027 period (total financial envelope of €7.739 billion in current prices). The text was agreed by 497 votes to 93, with 40 abstentions.
87% of the Fund’s resources would be allocated for the management of fisheries, aquaculture and fishing fleets under the so-called shared management (involving Commission and Member States), while 13% would go to direct and indirect support (covering measures such as scientific advice, control measures, market intelligence, maritime surveillance and security).
Parliament also endorsed specific amounts reserved for outermost regions, the protection and restoration of marine and coastal biodiversity, and the improvement of safety, working and living conditions of the crew, training, social dialogue skills and employment.
Compensation for fishermen
MEPs agreed with the extension of existing support conditions, giving compensation in case of permanent cessation of activities if the cessation leads to a permanent decrease in fishing capacity and the support received is not reinvested in the fleet. The text also includes clarifications for possible compensation in case of temporary cessation of fishing activities.
More support for outermost regions
Parliament also put more focus on outermost regions by increasing financial support, encouraging the renewal of small-scale coastal fishing fleets as well as allowing Member States to supplement EU compensations with national state aid.
"The new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, with an increased budget, will provide a modern, "user-friendly" and more flexible fund to support sustainable and competitive fishing, aquaculture and processing sectors. A Fund that cares about working and living conditions and safety of fishermen on board. A fund that provides better access to credit, insurance and financial instruments for small-scale operators. The new EMFAF will also allow for a more flexible access to compensation in case of cessation of the fishing activities, which is necessary for the much needed restructuration of the fleet in certain zones." said rapporteur Gabriel Mato (EPP, ES).
The new Parliament and EU ministers are expected to start negotiations on the future EU funding for fisheries this autumn.
In the context of the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The proposal aims to simplify the delivery of the fund compared to the complex legal framework currently in use. The current EMFF budget amounts to €6.4 billion, with the Commission proposing a decrease to €6.140 billion for the period 2021-2027.