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Monday, 18 November 2002 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Common fisheries policy (CFP)

  Kindermann (PSE).(DE) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, we are no doubt all agreed that the common fisheries policy needs to be reformed, but great differences become apparent as soon as discussion turns to the detailed modalities of reform. These have to do not only with how we assess the situation, which is at present, indeed, not exactly rosy, but also with what measures are to be taken. We even take different views of the scientific investigations into our resources, as shown by the report on our timetable, which we are discussing this evening, and I imagine that discussions in the Council of Ministers are just as animated as our own in Parliament.

As Europe's Parliament, though, we should be concentrating on the points of fact and attempting to play an active part in fashioning a reform whose prime objective will be to maintain fishery resources. We are talking about the precautionary principle, and cuts, painful though they may be, are probably necessary to secure sustainable management of fish stocks and hence the long-term survival of fishery as a whole. The social component of the measures we are to decide on, however, plays a key role in this.

I therefore call on all Members of this House, as well as the Fisheries Ministers, to fulfil their responsibility for fishery as a whole in the European Union and to distance themselves from myopic national interests when deciding what shape the reform is to take. We should not now let the great opportunity pass to decide on a fundamental reform of the common fisheries policy. We have to make use of this opportunity, or else the prospects for our fisheries in Europe will, in the foreseeable future, be bleak indeed. That this is so is already demonstrated very clearly by the current state of cod stocks in the North Sea, and I hope that will be a lesson to us.

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