Procedure : 2012/0134(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0233/2015

Texts tabled :

A8-0233/2015

Debates :

PV 08/09/2015 - 15
CRE 08/09/2015 - 15

Votes :

PV 09/09/2015 - 8.2

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0298

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20 July 2015
PE 557.215v03-00 A8-0233/2015

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau

(11667/2012 – C8-0278/2014 – 2012/0134(NLE))

Committee on Fisheries

Rapporteur: João Ferreira

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau

(11667/2012 – C8-0278/2014 – 2012/0134(NLE))

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the draft Council decision (11667/2012),

–       having regard to the draft protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (11671/2012),

–       having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43, Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and Article 218(7), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0278/2014),

–       having regard to its non-legislative resolution of ...(1) on the draft Council decision,

–       having regard to Rule 99(1), first and third subparagraphs, Rule 99(2), and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–       having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Budgets (A8-0233/2015),

1.      Gives its consent to conclusion of the Protocol;

2.      Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The first fisheries agreement between the EEC and Guinea-Bissau was signed in 1980. The fleets of EEC/EU Member States have had access to fishing opportunities in that country’s waters since that time. Successive protocols implementing the agreement were in force between 1980 and 15 June 2012.

A new protocol was agreed between the parties on 10 February 2012 and adopted by the European Commission on 5 June 2012. It was to apply for three years, from 16 June 2012 to 15 June 2015. Owing to the coup d’état in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on 12 April 2012, however, the EU suspended the procedures required for this new protocol to be signed. EU Member State fleets fishing in Guinea-Bissau’s exclusive economic zone under this agreement were instructed to cease operating in the area, since it was considered that their safety could not be guaranteed. In May 2014, elections were held in the country and a new protocol implementing the Fisheries Agreement between the EU and Guinea-Bissau was finally signed on 24 November 2014, covering a three-year period.

The financial contribution stands at EUR 9.2 million per year, corresponding to EUR 6.2 million for access to fishery resources in the Guinea-Bissau exclusive economic zone, and EUR 3 million in support for the development of Guinea-Bissau’s fisheries sector.

The fishing opportunities granted to EU fleets are: 3 700 GRT (gross registered tonnage) for freezer trawlers (shrimp) and 3 500 GRT for freezer trawlers (fin-fish and cephalopod); 28 freezer tuna seiners and longliners and 12 pole-and-line tuna vessels.

The EU-Guinea-Bissau Fisheries Agreement has gained added importance following the suspension of negotiations with Mauritania, and it may even be considered one of the most important agreements currently in force. It is one of the EU’s few fisheries agreements allowing access to mixed fisheries.

Guinea-Bissau is located on the west coast of Africa between Senegal and Guinea-Conakry. It has a total surface area of 36 125 km2. The country’s population is estimated at 1.4 million, around a quarter of whom live in the capital Bissau, with the remainder living in rural areas. It is considered to be one of the world’s least developed countries, and a significant percentage of the population lives below the poverty line (estimated at two thirds of households in the country). Its GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world. In 2008, almost a third of national income came from international donors, with the EU providing almost a third of this aid. The economy relies heavily on farming, and on one crop in particular: cashew nuts. One of the challenges facing the country is to diversify production.

In this context, the end of unilateral global preferences and the entry into force of economic partnership agreements represent a heavy constraint on the country, posing risks with a potential for causing serious damage. Its broad continental shelf, fed by rivers, and the seasonal upwelling of ocean currents help to ensure rich stocks of both coastal and oceanic species. The main stocks of commercial value include demersal species, small pelagic species, large migratory pelagic species, crustaceans (shrimp, including deep-water shrimp) and cephalopods (squid and octopus).

Artisanal fishing, including subsistence fishing, provides a livelihood for several thousand fishermen and their families, some of them from neighbouring countries (the numbers vary according to different estimates). Three quarters of the almost 1 500 boats registered in 2009 were canoe-type boats (made from tree trunks). Trade with the EU in fishery products is impossible owing to the country’s inability to comply with EU sanitary requirements. Measures to boost Guinea-Bissau’s capacities in this area, such as the setting-up of a sanitation laboratory (in July 2014), could help to bring about a welcome change in this situation. The fisheries agreement with the EU accounts for a significant share of all EU transfers to Guinea-Bissau (it amounted to a quarter of total transfers in 2010).

The rapporteur recommends that Parliament approve the signing of this protocol, given its importance for both Guinea-Bissau and for EU fleets operating in that country’s waters.

The rapporteur nevertheless believes that a more detailed assessment and study should be made of this agreement, its background and its prospects for the future. Bearing in mind the European Parliament’s role and remit in this area, the rapporteur considers it appropriate and necessary to adopt a non-legislative resolution on this agreement, setting out considerations and recommendations that we hope the Commission will take into account during the period covered by this protocol and in possible future negotiations.

The rapporteur would highlight certain aspects that call for particular attention.

Even though the first Fisheries Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau was signed 35 years ago, the results achieved to date in the field of sectoral cooperation have been lamentably scant. This must be changed. The agreement must promote genuine sustainable development in the Guinean fisheries sector and related industries and activities, increasing the added value that stays in the country as a result of exploiting its natural resources.

There needs to be better coordination between the sectoral support provided under the Fisheries Agreement and the instruments available as part of development cooperation, namely the European Development Fund (EFD), either through the corresponding national programming or through regional programming for West Africa.

The rapporteur takes the view that the Commission should take the necessary action – including the possible revision of and an increase in the sectoral support component of the agreement, alongside the creation of different, better conditions to improve the absorption rate for this support – in order to reverse the trend followed in the past decades. Persistent efforts need to be made to ensure that some (albeit few) positive developments seen in recent years can be strengthened to produce noticeable results.

As is the case for other countries in the region, there is a need for more and more reliable data on catches and on the conservation status of fishery resources in general, along with support for Guinea-Bissau to develop its own capacities for obtaining this data.

Finally, the rapporteur stresses that Parliament must be kept immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedures related to the protocol or its renewal. It is proposed that an annual report be submitted to Parliament and the Council on the results of the multiannual sectoral programme described in Article 3 of the protocol, as well as on compliance with catch reporting requirements.

25.6.2015

OPINION of the Committee on Development

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau

(11667/2012 – C8-0278/2014 – 2012/0134(NLE))

Rapporteur: Nirj Deva

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest least developed countries in the world and it is highly indebted. It also has one of the world's lowest levels of the GDP per capita.

Its economy is highly dependent on agriculture, in particular cashew production. Furthermore, Guinea-Bissau is extremely rich in fishery resources, and food dependency on fisheries is high given the lack of alternative sources of animal protein.

The political situation in the country remains unstable. The military coup of 12 April 2012 was condemned by the international community, which refused to recognise the institutions established by the coup leaders and demanded the restoration of the constitutional order.

The positive evolution since May 2014, when presidential elections took place, moved the EU to resume its cooperation with Guinea-Bissau, including the resumption of the negotiation of the Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA).

The current Protocol covers a period of three years from the date of its signature. It is a multi-species agreement as it covers not only tuna but also prawns and cephalopods. The financial contribution amounts to 9.200.000EUR/year, including 3.000.000 EUR/year support to the sectoral fisheries policy of Guinea-Bissau.

The Protocol provides fishing opportunities for EU vessels in the exclusive economic zone of Guinea-Bissau within the limits of the available surplus. The FPA is of great importance for Guinea-Bissau from a financial perspective but also when it comes to rebuilding its fisheries sector and developing its local (including artisanal) fisheries industry. It is an essential tool to add value to the fishing process and ultimately to export fisheries products into the EU.

In addition, it can help reducing Guinea Bissau's dependency on cashew production and international aid, and strengthening the country's economy whose weakness, compounded to its political, economic and financial instability, enabled narco cartels to become more and more powerful - a development which greatly destabilised the country.

******

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to recommend that Parliament give its consent to the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

23.6.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

17

4

0

Members present for the final vote

Louis Aliot, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Ignazio Corrao, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Nathan Gill, Charles Goerens, Heidi Hautala, Maria Heubuch, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Stelios Kouloglou, Linda McAvan, Norbert Neuser, Maurice Ponga, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Elly Schlein, György Schöpflin, Pedro Silva Pereira, Davor Ivo Stier, Paavo Väyrynen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta

Substitutes present for the final vote

Paul Rübig

24.6.2015

OPINION of the Committee on Budgets

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau

(11667/2012 – C8-0278/2014 – 2012/0134(NLE))

Rapporteur: Indrek Tarand

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

On the basis of a mandate from the Council, the European Commission has conducted negotiations with the Republic of Guinea-Bissau with a view to renewing the Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

At the end of those negotiations, a new Protocol was initialled on 10 February 2012. The Protocol was signed in accordance with a Decision and has been applied provisionally from the date of its signature.

The Protocol and the Annex thereto shall apply for a period of three years from the provisional application.

The interested parties were consulted ahead of the negotiations in the framework of the Long Distance Fleet Regional Advisory Council, bringing together the fisheries sector and environmental and development NGOs. Experts from the Member States were also consulted in technical meetings. These consultations concluded that it would be beneficial to maintain a fishing protocol with Guinea-Bissau.

The draft Council decision aims to conclude the Protocol agreed between the EU/Guinea-Bissau setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the two parties currently in force.

The main aim of the Protocol to the Agreement is to:

•  provide fishing opportunities for the vessels of the European Union in the waters of Guinea-Bissau within the limits of the available surplus;

•  enhance the cooperation between the EU-Guinea-Bissau, thereby creating a partnership framework within which to develop a sustainable fisheries policy and sound exploitation of fishery resources in the Guinea-Bissau fishing zone, in the interests of both parties.

BUDGETARY IMPLICATIONS: the overall financial contribution of the Protocol shall be EUR 27.972 million from 2012 to 2015 (administrative expenses included).

The overall financial contribution of the Protocol of EUR 9.2 million over the whole period is based on:

•  a maximum of 40 authorisations for tuna vessels and of 7 200 GRT for trawlers, for a financial contribution of EUR 6.2 million;

•  support for the development of the sectoral fisheries policy of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau amounting to EUR 3 million. This support meets the objectives of the national fisheries policy.

The implementation of this Protocol may be suspended at the initiative of one of the two parties after consultation within the Joint Committee, if one or more of the following conditions apply: (a) unusual circumstances, other than natural phenomena, prevent fishing activities in the Guinea-Bissau EEZ; (b) following significant changes in the policy objectives which led to the conclusion of this Protocol; (c) one of the two parties violates one of the essential and fundamental elements of human rights and democratic principles, etc. In the event of suspension, the parties shall continue to consult with a view to finding an amicable settlement to their dispute. Specific financial measures shall be provided in this case.

******

The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to recommend that Parliament give its consent to the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

The Committee on Budgets suggests to the Committee on Fisheries that it should adopt an accompanying non-legislative resolution including the following paragraphs:

•  Calls on the Commission to report annually to Parliament and the Council on the results of the multiannual sectoral programme described in Article 3 of the Protocol, as well as on compliance by the Member States with reporting requirements;

•  Calls on the Commission to submit to Parliament and the Council, before the Protocol expires or before negotiations for its possible replacement begin, an ex-post evaluation of the Protocol, including a cost-benefit analysis and an explanation of how the funds allocated to Guinea-Bissau are used and monitored.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

23.6.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

31

2

4

Members present for the final vote

Nedzhmi Ali, Jonathan Arnott, Jean Arthuis, Richard Ashworth, Reimer Böge, Lefteris Christoforou, Jean-Paul Denanot, Gérard Deprez, José Manuel Fernandes, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Jens Geier, Ingeborg Gräßle, Iris Hoffmann, Monika Hohlmeier, Bernd Kölmel, Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, Vladimír Maňka, Ernest Maragall, Sophie Montel, Siegfried Mureşan, Liadh Ní Riada, Jan Olbrycht, Younous Omarjee, Paul Rübig, Patricija Šulin, Eleftherios Synadinos, Paul Tang, Isabelle Thomas, Monika Vana, Daniele Viotti, Stanisław Żółtek

Substitutes present for the final vote

Janusz Lewandowski, Nils Torvalds, Derek Vaughan, Tomáš Zdechovský

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Tiziana Beghin, Marco Zullo

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

15.7.2015

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

14

4

5

Members present for the final vote

Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Renata Briano, Alain Cadec, Richard Corbett, Diane Dodds, Linnéa Engström, Raymond Finch, Ian Hudghton, Carlos Iturgaiz, Werner Kuhn, António Marinho e Pinto, Gabriel Mato, Liadh Ní Riada, Ulrike Rodust, Remo Sernagiotto, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Isabelle Thomas, Ruža Tomašić, Peter van Dalen, Jarosław Wałęsa

Substitutes present for the final vote

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, José Blanco López, Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, Anja Hazekamp, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Francisco José Millán Mon, Lidia Senra Rodríguez

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Isabella Adinolfi

(1)

Texts adopted of that date, P8_TA(0000)0000.

Last updated: 24 August 2015Legal notice