Procedure : 2007/0232(CNS)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0085/2008

Texts tabled :

A6-0085/2008

Debates :

Votes :

PV 08/05/2008 - 5.1
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0187

REPORT     *
PDF 176kWORD 136k
31.3.2008
PE 398.441v02-00 A6-0085/2008

on the proposal for a Council regulation on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters on the amendments to the Protocol setting out, for the period from 18 January 2005 to 17 January 2011, the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Seychelles

(COM(2007)0664 – C6‑0430/2007 – 2007/0232(CNS))

Committee on Fisheries

Rapporteur: Josu Ortuondo Larrea

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Budgets
 PROCEDURE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a Council regulation on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters on the amendments to the Protocol setting out, for the period from 18 January 2005 to 17 January 2011, the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Seychelles

(COM(2007)0664 – C6‑0430/2007 – 2007/0232(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the proposal for a Council regulation (COM(2007)0664),

–   having regard to Article 37 and Article 300(2) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Article 300(3), first subparagraph, of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6‑0430/2007),

–   having regard to Rules 51 and 83(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Development (A6‑0085/2008),

1.  Approves the proposal for a Council regulation as amended and approves conclusion of the agreement;

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

Amendment  1

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(1a) Chapter VIII of this Fisheries Agreement, relating to port equipment, states that 'the Seychelles authorities shall lay down, in agreement with the shipowners, the conditions for using port equipment', but no action has yet been taken to meet our industry's demands as regards improving port infrastructure.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a regulation

Recital 1 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(1b) If fisheries sectoral policy in Seychelles is to become a reality, account must be taken of the improvement and modernisation of port infrastructure, which is currently highly congested, and of the possibility of abolishing the special landing fee for tuna, which does not exist in any other port in the world.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a regulation

Article 3, paragraph 1 a (new)

 

The Commission shall evaluate each year whether Member States whose vessels operate under the Protocol to the Agreement have complied with reporting requirements. Where this is not the case, the Commission shall withhold their requests for fishing licences for the following year.

Justification

Vessels that do not comply with the most basic requirement, reporting what they catch, should not benefit from financial support from the EU.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a regulation

Article 3 a (new)

 

Article 3a

 

The Commission shall report annually to the European Parliament and the Council on the results of the multiannual sectoral programme described in Article 7 of the Protocol as well as on compliance by the Member States with reporting requirements.

Justification

In order to evaluate whether the compensation paid by the EU is properly accounted for and does in fact promote the sustainable use of fishery resources in Seychelles, the Commission should report annually to Parliament.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a regulation

Article 3 b (new)

 

Article 3b

 

Before expiry of the Protocol or the beginning of negotiations for its possible replacement, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and the Council an ex post evaluation of the Protocol, including a cost-benefit analysis.

Justification

An evaluation of the current protocol is necessary before new negotiations begin in order to know what changes, if any, should be included in any possible renewal.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Commission proposal involves amending the protocol to the fisheries partnership agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Seychelles contained in Regulation (EC) No 1562/2006 to bring the clauses of the protocol into line with the actual catches made in the two years in which the agreement has been in force. The modifications to the agreement are minor and correspond to the conclusions of the joint committee provided for in the current protocol.

Following the meeting of the EC/Seychelles joint committee in January 2007, it was decided that the two parties would organise a fresh meeting of the joint committee in accordance with Article 11 of the protocol and Article 9 of the agreement in order to submit proposals for amendments to the protocol. These were discussed at the meeting of the joint committee held on 20 and 21 March in Brussels.

The amendments negotiated are set out in the explanatory memorandum to the Commission proposal and involve:

–   increasing the reference tonnage from 55 000 tonnes to 63 000 tonnes to take account of the average level of catches over the past three years;

–   introducing the financial support for the partnership which was not introduced in the previous negotiations (prior to the Council conclusions of July 2004 on fisheries partnership agreements);

–   increasing the fee paid by shipowners from EUR 25 to EUR 35 per tonne to bring the protocol into line with other tuna agreements, hence reducing the Community contribution from EUR 75 to EUR 65 per tonne;

–   fishing opportunities remain unchanged: 40 tuna seiners and 12 surface longliners;

–   the annual financial contribution increases from EUR 4 125 000 in the current protocol to EUR 5 355 000 in the amended protocol;

–   advances have been set as follows: EUR 21 000 per year per tuna seiner, EUR 4 200 per year per surface longliner over 250 GT and EUR 3 150 per year per surface longliner of 250 GT or less.

The amended protocol is to be applied provisionally from 18 January 2008 pending its entry into force in accordance with Article 13 thereof.

The desirability of amending the protocol for both parties and its consistency with the responsible management of fishery resources are also made clear in the explanatory memorandum:

According to the ex-ante evaluation, the conclusion of the new agreement was beneficial for both sides. The amendments further consolidate this agreement, which is the Community’s biggest tuna agreement with a third country in terms of both reference tonnage and financial contribution and a key element ensuring the consistency and viability of other tuna agreements between the Community and other countries in the Indian Ocean (Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, Mozambique).

The key elements of the evaluation continue to apply, in particular the very satisfactory use of the fishing opportunities and the reference tonnage.

Added value of Community involvement:

The Community’s return on its investment is extremely positive, as it is estimated that each euro invested by the Community budget allows the sector to generate at least EUR 4.80 in value-added. The economic rewards for Seychelles are considerable, and the presence of European fleets makes a very significant contribution to a Seychelles economy which is currently in difficulty. Fishing activities by European seiners ensures 95% of tuna supplies to the local cannery, which is the country’s leading private employer with around 2 500 jobs. The Seychelles fisheries sector represents 15% of GDP (just behind tourism at 20%) and ensures direct and indirect employment for 6 000 people, or 17% of the formal employment market.

Nevertheless, it must be borne in mind that the agreement covered the period 2005 to 2011 and this mid-term review involves an increase in the financial contribution paid by shipowners for each licence, rising from EUR 15 000 to EUR 21 000. The fee per tonne of fish caught is also rising from EUR 25 to EUR 35, i.e. an increase of 40%.

Moreover, this is the only country in the world to have fixed a special landing fee for tuna (tuna transhipment tax), and even though the original agreement signed in 2007 stated that 'the Seychelles authorities shall lay down, in agreement with the shipowners, the conditions for using port equipment' (Chapter VIII), the fact is that no action has ever been taken to meet the European tuna industry's repeated demands as regards the necessary improvements to port infrastructure, which is in a deplorable state and is severely congested owing to the growth in the size of the fleet in recent years.

The amendments to the protocol now being made by the Seychelles Government remove all reference to any form of consultation with shipowners, who bear the greatest share of the burden resulting from the increase in charges but feel left out of the negotiations and do not see any clear commitment to improving port facilities.

Conclusions

The amendments made by the joint committee do not alter either the fishing opportunities set out in the protocol and adopted by Council Regulation (EC) No 115/2006 of 23 January 2006, which remain set at 40 licences for tuna seiners and 12 for surface longliners, or the main features of the agreement, and the rapporteur therefore suggests approving the amendments to the protocol to the existing fisheries partnership agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Seychelles.


OPINION of the Committee on Development (28.2.2008)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the proposal for a Council regulation on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters on the amendments to the Protocol setting out, for the period from 18 January 2005 to 17 January 2011, the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Seychelles

(COM(2007)0664 – C6‑0430/2007 – 2007/0232(CNS))

Draftsman: Josep Borrell Fontelles

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The European Union’s development co-operation policy and the common fisheries policy (CFP) must be consistent, complementary and co-ordinated, contributing, as a whole, to poverty reduction and the sustainable development of the countries concerned.

The EU has committed itself to ensuring the sustainability of fisheries worldwide, as defined at the United Nations 2002 summit in Johannesburg, maintaining or restoring stock levels with a view to producing the maximum sustainable yield.

The EU has accepted the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization’s "Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries", to promote long-term sustainable fisheries and to affirm that the right to fish carries with it the obligation to do so in a responsible manner so as to ensure effective conservation and management of the living aquatic resources.

The EU’s presence in distant fishing grounds is a legitimate objective, but it must be recalled that the interest of European Union's fisheries ought to be protected alongside the interest in developing the nations with which fisheries agreements are signed.

The European Parliament’s Development Committee welcomes the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly resolution of 22 June 2006 on “Fisheries and their social and environmental aspects in developing countries", in particular in so far as it considers that the protection of EU and ACP fishing interests must be coordinated with the sustainable management of fishery resources in economic, social and environmental terms on the one hand, and with the livelihoods of coastal communities dependent on fisheries on the other.

The European Parliament’s Development Committee further stresses the reference made in the ACP-EU Fisheries Partnership Agreement to the observation of the Cotonou Agreement; insists that full account must be taken of Article 9 of the Cotonou Agreement on human rights, democratic principles, good governance and the rule of law, and welcomes the guarantees given by the Commission services to the effect that they shall take into consideration the content of Article 9 when negotiating agreements with developing countries, including non-ACP developing countries.

The purpose of the proposed agreement is to amend the existing Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Seychelles, adopted on 23 January 2006, which repealed and replaced the agreement of 1987 by the date of its entry into force.

The amendments which have been negotiated in the meeting of the EC/Seychelles Joint Committee in March 2007, increase the reference tonnage from 55 000 tonnes to 63 000 tonnes, introduce financial support for the partnership and raise the share paid by ship-owners from EUR 25 to EUR 35 per tonne to bring the Protocol into line with other tuna agreements.

The Community contribution is thus reduced from EUR 75 to EUR 65 per tonne. The total financial contribution therefore increases from EUR 4 125 000 to EUR 5 355 000. A specific amount of EUR 1 260 000 per year is aimed for the support and implementation of Seychelles’ sectoral fisheries policy.

The fishing opportunities set out in the Protocol, and laid down in Regulation (EC) No 115/2006, had not been amended and is confirmed for 40 Tuna seiners from France, Spain and Italy, and for 12 surface longliners from France, Spain and Portugal, subject to a total of 52 licences.

The amended Protocol will enter into force provisionally from 18 January 2008, for the final remaining three years, till 17 January 2011.

The European Parliament’s Development Committee welcomes the referred link to national initiatives and hope that they may include the financing to local infrastructure projects of processing and marketing of the fish, thus allowing local populations to go beyond subsistence fisheries.

The European Parliament’s Development Committee also welcomes the fact that the agreement is proposing to implement a sectoral fisheries policy with a view to promoting responsible and sustainable fishing in Seychelles waters, and it fosters scientific and technical cooperation with local authorities. The above mentioned ACP-EU resolution considers that scientific resource assessment must be a precondition for access to fishing, and that an annual evaluation of resources must be a condition for obtaining further fishing permits.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Text proposed by the Commission(1)  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

Recital 2 a (new)

 

(2a) The Community's financial contribution should be used for the development of coastal populations living on fisheries and the creation of small local fish freezing and processing industries;

PROCEDURE

Title

Amendments concerning the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Agreement between the EC and Seychelles

References

COM(2007)0664 – C6-0430/2007 – 2007/0232(CNS)

Committee responsible

PECH

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

DEVE

29.11.2007

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Josep Borrell Fontelles

18.12.2007

 

 

Date adopted

27.2.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

29

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Alessandro Battilocchio, Thijs Berman, Josep Borrell Fontelles, Danutė Budreikaitė, Marie-Arlette Carlotti, Thierry Cornillet, Corina Creţu, Nirj Deva, Beniamino Donnici, Fernando Fernández Martín, Hélène Goudin, Alain Hutchinson, Filip Kaczmarek, Glenys Kinnock, Maria Martens, Luisa Morgantini, Horst Posdorf, Frithjof Schmidt, Jürgen Schröder, Feleknas Uca, Johan Van Hecke, Luis Yañez-Barnuevo García, Anna Záborská, Mauro Zani

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Ana Maria Gomes, Fiona Hall, Manolis Mavrommatis, Linda McAvan, Ralf Walter, Gabriele Zimmer

(1)

Not yet published in OJ.


OPINION of the Committee on Budgets (28.2.2008)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the proposal for a Council regulation on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters on the amendments to the Protocol setting out, for the period from 18 January 2005 to 17 January 2011, the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Seychelles

(COM(2007)0664 – C6‑0430/2007 – 2007/0232(CNS))

Draftswoman: Helga Trüpel

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

This is an amendment to the existing FPA with the Seychelles, which is a standard tuna agreement. The amendments seek to do two things:

1.  In the current protocol, the reference tonnage, i.e. the amount of tuna that the agreement pays for in advance, is set at 55.000 tonnes. The amendment would increase this amount to 63.000 tonnes, to reflect more accurately actual catches in recent years according to the Commission (note that this is not a limit on catches, it is a limit on how much is paid for in advance).

2.  In the current protocol, the EU budget pays a total of €75 for each tonne of tuna caught by the EU fleets. The vessel ship-owners pay €25 per tonne through their licence fees. The amendment changes these two amounts to €65 and €35 respectively, to bring the agreement into line with other tuna agreements and to fulfil the commitment of the Council in 2004 to increase the share paid by the ship-owners.

The result of these changes is that the financial contribution will increase from €4.125 million to €5.355 per year, effective from 18 January 2007.

At present, such amendments to protocols must pass through the Council and the Parliament; this is the procedure being followed in the case of the Seychelles. However, the Commission has proposed (COM (2007) 595) a comitology procedure that they would like to follow for any future amendments to fisheries partnership agreements, ostensibly to speed up such procedures. That proposal is the subject of another opinion by your draftswoman (PE 400.694).

Your draftswoman proposes three amendments to the regulation.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Budgets calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Text proposed by the Commission(1)  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

Article 3, paragraph 1 a (new)

 

The Commission shall evaluate each year whether Member States whose vessels operate under the Protocol to the Agreement have complied with reporting requirements. Where this is not the case, the Commission shall withhold their requests for fishing licences for the following year.

Justification

Vessels that do not comply with the most basic requirement, reporting what they catch, should not benefit from financial support from the EU.

Amendment 2

Article 3 a (new)

 

Article 3a

 

The Commission shall report annually to the European Parliament and the Council on the results of the multiannual sectoral programme described in Article 7 of the Protocol as well as on compliance by the Member States with reporting requirements.

Justification

In order to evaluate whether the compensation paid by the EU is properly accounted for and does in fact promote the sustainable use of fishery resources in Seychelles, the Commission should report annually to Parliament.

Amendment 3

Article 3 b (new)

 

Article 3b

 

Before expiry of the Protocol or the beginning of negotiations for its possible replacement, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and the Council an ex post evaluation of the Protocol, including a cost-benefit analysis.

Justification

An evaluation of the current protocol is necessary before new negotiations begin in order to know what changes, if any, should be included in any possible renewal.

PROCEDURE

Title

Amendments concerning the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Agreement between the EC and Seychelles

References

COM(2007)0664 – C6-0430/2007 – 2007/0232(CNS)

Committee responsible

PECH

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

BUDG

29.11.2007

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Helga Trüpel

20.9.2004

 

 

Date adopted

27.2.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

15

Members present for the final vote

Reimer Böge, Valdis Dombrovskis, Salvador Garriga Polledo, Ingeborg Gräßle, Catherine Guy-Quint, Jutta Haug, Monica Maria Iacob-Ridzi, Anne E. Jensen, Vladimír Maňka, Jan Mulder, Cătălin-Ioan Nechifor, Theodor Dumitru Stolojan, László Surján, Helga Trüpel, Ralf Walter

(1)

Not yet published in OJ.


PROCEDURE

Title

Amendments concerning the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Agreement between the EC and Seychelles

References

COM(2007)0664 – C6-0430/2007 – 2007/0232(CNS)

Date of consulting Parliament

21.11.2007

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

PECH

29.11.2007

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)

       Date announced in plenary

DEVE

29.11.2007

BUDG

29.11.2007

 

 

Rapporteur(s)

       Date appointed

Josu Ortuondo Larrea

22.11.2007

 

 

Date adopted

27.3.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

3

0

Members present for the final vote

Alfonso Andria, Stavros Arnaoutakis, Elspeth Attwooll, Iles Braghetto, Niels Busk, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, Paulo Casaca, Zdzisław Kazimierz Chmielewski, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Carmen Fraga Estévez, Ioannis Gklavakis, Alfred Gomolka, Ian Hudghton, Heinz Kindermann, Rosa Miguélez Ramos, Seán Ó Neachtain, Struan Stevenson, Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna, Cornelis Visser

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Ole Christensen, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Thomas Wise

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Francesco Ferrari

Date tabled

31.3.2008

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