REPORT on the proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of an Agreement in the form of an exchange of letters concerning the interim extension of the Protocol to the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Senegal on fishing off the coast of Senegal for the period from 2 October 1996 to 1 November 1996 (COM(96)0611 - C4-0032/97 - 96/0287(CNS))

24 June 1997

Committee on Fisheries
Rapporteur: Mrs Nicole Pery

By letter of 28 January 1997 the Council consulted Parliament, pursuant to Article 43 and Article 228(2) and (3), first indent, of the EC Treaty, on the proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of an Agreement in the form of an exchange of letters concerning the interim extension of the Protocol to the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Senegal on fishing off the coast of Senegal for the period from 2 October 1996 to 1 November 1996.

At the sitting of 29 January 1997 the President of Parliament announced that he had referred this proposal to the Committee on Fisheries as the committee responsible. At the sitting of 17 February 1997 the President of Parliament announced that he had referred this proposal to the Committee on Development and Cooperation for its opinion.

At its meeting of 18-19 December 1996 the Committee on Fisheries had appointed Mrs Nicole Pery rapporteur.

It considered the Commission proposal and the draft report at its meetings of 16-17 April 1997 and 23-24 June 1997.

At the latter/last meeting it adopted the draft legislative resolution by 15 votes to 2.

The following were present for the vote: Fraga Estévez, chairman; Kindermann, Souchet, vicechairman; d'Aboville, Adam, Chichester (for Bébéar), Cunha, Eisma (for Kofoed), Gallagher, Hardstaff (for Apolinário), Imaz San Miguel (for Burtone), Langenhagen, McMahon (for Baldarelli), McCartin (for Provan), Pérez Royo (for Crampton) Teverson and Varela Suanzes-Carpegna.

The opinion of the Committee on Development and Cooperation is attached.

The report was tabled on 24 June 1997..

The deadline for tabling amendments will be indicated in the draft agenda for the relevant partsession.

A LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL - DRAFT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of an Agreement in the form of an exchange of letters concerning the interim extension of the Protocol to the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Senegal on fishing off the coast of Senegal for the period from 2 October 1996 to 1 November 1996 (COM(96)0611 - C40032/97 - 96/0287(CNS))

The proposal is approved.

Legislative resolution embodying Parliament's opinion on the proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of an Agreement in the form of an exchange of letters concerning the interim extension of the Protocol to the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Senegal on fishing off the coast of Senegal for the period from 2 October 1996 to 1 November 1996 (COM(96)0611 - C4-0032/97 - 96/0287(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council, COM(96)0611 - 96/0287(CNS)[1],

- having been consulted by the Council pursuant to Article 43 and Article 228(2) and (3), first indent, of the EC Treaty (C4-0032/97),

- having regard to Rule 58 of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinion of the Committee on Development and Cooperation (A4-0220/97),

1. Approves the Commission proposal;

2. Calls on the Council to notify Parliament should it intend to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

3. Asks to be consulted again should the Council intend to make substantial modifications to the Commission proposal;

4. Instructs its President to forward this opinion to the Council and Commission.

  • [1] OJ C 008, 11.1.1997, p. 5.

B EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The European Parliament is used to the fact that it is mostly consulted after the entry into force of fisheries agreements signed by the European Union. But this case beats all records ... It involves the extension of the EU/Senegal agreement from 1 to 31 October 1996.

On 1 October 1996, a two-year protocol to the fisheries agreement with Senegal expired. This protocol was extended for one month during which negotiations on a new protocol continued. The aim of this extension was to avoid a suspension of fishing by Community vessels in Senegal's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Since then negotiations have been suspended and fishing by Community vessels has ceased. This situation is due to some extent to the electoral situation in Senegal at the end of 1996 and the budgetary difficulties facing the European Union in respect of the budgetary heading on international fisheries agreements.

I would also recall that a debate was held during the part-session in November 1996 and that the House adopted a resolution to break off negotiations.

I consider that this agreement is very important within the framework of the Euro-African relations, especially since relatively modest sums of money are involved compared with the latest agreements signed with Morocco (ECU 500 m over four years), Mauritania (ECU 266.8 m over five years) and Angola (ECU 40 m over three years).

I would remind you that the agreement with Senegal which has expired involved a financial endowment of ECU 18 m and was thus much more modest than the previous 1992 - 1994 agreement which involved ECU 32 m.

This state of affairs can be explained by the depletion of fishing resources in Senegalese waters, the fraught relations between non-industrial and industrial fishing and the development of the indigenous fishing sector.

However, the European Parliament wishes to bring its development policy and its policy regarding fisheries agreements with third countries more into line with each other.

In December I was in Dakar at the initiative of Parliament's DG on Research to resume a constructive but straightforward political dialogue: Parliament, of course, has no institutional competence as regards negotiations. This extremely positive mission enabled me to establish very direct contacts with the authorities concerned: the European delegation to Senegal, the Minister of Fisheries and the President of the Republic of Senegal.

A national framework law on fisheries is being discussed in Dakar to regulate fisheries management and all maritime activities. We have good reason to hope that problems linked to the delimitation of zones, the risk of accidents, the co-existence of different types of fisheries activity, the plundering of resources and controls will be addressed more effectively in future.

Very positive exchanges of views were held on the utilization of part of the financial aid to modernize the indigenous fisheries sector and for development actions.

The idea of combining EU with EDF funding was also warmly welcomed.

All the above circumstances will probably generate a new type of agreement, the phototype of which may be the future partnership agreement with Senegal.

22 April 1997

OPINION

(Rule 147 of the Rules of Procedure)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of an Agreement in the form of an exchange of letters concerning the interim extension of the protocol to the Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of Senegal on fishing off the coast of Senegal for the period from 2 October 1996 to 1 November 1996 (COM(96)0611 - C4-0032/97 - 96/0287(CNS)); report by Mrs Pery

Committee on Development and Cooperation

Letter from the committee chairman to Mrs Fraga Estévez, chairman of the Committee on Fisheries

Brussels, 22 April 1997

Dear Mrs Estévez,

The Committee on Development and Cooperation considered the above proposal at its meeting of 16 April 1997 and adopted the following opinion in letter form at its meeting of 22 April 1997.

The committee noted that the proposal was needed so that Community vessels (over 60 in number) could continue fishing in Senegalese waters during the provisional extension of the existing protocol[1], while waiting for a new protocol to come into force, although the date on which the latter is to be signed is uncertain due to the breakdown of negotiations, for which reason, the extension now having ended, the vessels are no longer fishing.

Furthermore, the extension was also to enable some vessels affected by the biological resting period in Mauritanian waters to fish off Senegal during that period.

Parliament was consulted by the Council in a letter of 28 January 1997 on this proposal, which was due to come into force on 2 October 1996, with the requisite financial compensation to be paid before 31 December 1996. For that reason, we are faced with faits accomplis, and it cannot be said that Parliament has been involved in the negotiation process, as has been pointed out on previous occasions.

Under these circumstances, the Committee on Development and Cooperation, taking into account the fact that the fishing opportunities negotiated in the extension of the protocol to the Agreement with Senegal have already been used and the financial contribution has been paid, has decided to return a favourable opinion on the proposal under consideration, and to insist yet again on the importance of doing whatever is necessary to allow the consultation procedure provided for in the Treaties to be carried out, whatever the inherent complexity of the negotiation of international agreements on fisheries and the demands imposed by short-term negotiating deadlines in order to guarantee that fishing activities are not interrupted.

(closing formula and signature)

The following were present for the vote: Rocard, chairman; Fassa, vice-chairman; Carlotti, Corrie, Cunningham, Dimitrakopoulos (for Günther), Hawlicek (for Pons Grau), Junker, Martens, Mouskouri (for Lord Plumb), Paasio, Pettinari and Vecchi.

  • [1] The current agreement between the Community and the Republic of Senegal covers the period from 2 October 1994 to 1 October 1996; it also involves financial compensation of EU 18 million, in two annual instalments Regulation (EEC) No 1982/95, OJ L 193, 16.8.1995, p. 1