For two years, the sharp increase in oil prices has had a severe impact on operating expenses in the fisheries sector. The price of a barrel has risen from $US 37 in early 2009 to over $US 100 today.
Furthermore, political instability in the Maghreb and the Middle East has resulted in great price volatility.
Faced with this situation, European fishermen are struggling to finance their fishing activities and some have been forced to stop. If this situation continues, it will have disastrous consequences for the European fishing industry. The EU has a duty to support a European fishing industry which is already struggling to cope with the high share of fishery and aquaculture products imported to the European market from third countries.
The de minimis ceiling is too low to protect European fisheries. Is it possible to increase the ceiling for de minimis aid by raising it from €30 000 to €60 000 per company per three year period? More generally, how does the Commission intend to support the European fisheries economy against this background of rising oil prices?