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Torek, 22. februar 2005 - Strasbourg Pregledana izdaja

20. Agencija za nadzor ribištva
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  Le Président. – L'ordre du jour appelle à présent le rapport de Mme Elspeth Attwooll (A6-0022/2005) sur la proposition de règlement du Conseil instituant une agence communautaire de contrôle des pêches et modifiant le règlement (CEE) n°2847/93 instituant un régime de contrôle applicable à la politique commune de la pêche.

 
  
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  Borg, Member of the Commission. Mr President, first of all, I would like to thank the honourable Member for her report on the proposal for a Council regulation establishing a Community Fisheries Control Agency and amending Regulation (EEC) No 2847/93 establishing a control system applicable to the common fisheries policy.

The Commission views the establishment of the agency as a crucial element in the implementation of the reform of the common fisheries policy. You will recall that the creation of this agency is a clear signal that more uniform and effective enforcement of the rules is a priority for the reformed common fisheries policy. We believe that a well-functioning agency will be critical not only in enhancing the control capacity of Member States but also in further committing ourselves to combating illegal fishing. In addition, it is our firm belief that, as our control capabilities are enhanced, so too is the reliability of the data that is available to scientists, thus contributing to sounder scientific advice on which to base our policy for sustainable fisheries. It is for this reason that the Commission is committed to an effective and reliable agency.

On an operational level, we see the agency as a means of strengthening the tools and methods of control undertaken by Member States.

The Commission is very pleased with the close cooperation it has had with the rapporteur and the members of the Committee on Fisheries during our work on this important proposal. I am happy to be able to inform you that we accept more than half of the amendments of the Committee on Fisheries which greatly reinforce our proposal and which we will readily defend in the Council.

Let me now turn to the amendments proposed in the report before us.

The Commission can accept Amendment 1.

The Commission has difficulty in accepting Amendment 2. It is not advisable to prioritise tasks in the regulation since priorities may change in future years as a result of tasks fulfilled and objectives attained. The Commission does, however, note the merit in including controls of illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries in the work programme of the agency.

The Commission can accept Amendment 3.

The Commission cannot accept Amendments 4, 25 and 27. Voting arrangements must take into account the specific characteristics of this body, which is charged with control tasks. The proposal is based on the need to strike a balance between the part played by the Member States and the necessity at Commission level to ensure that the agency develops in conformity with the stated objectives of the common fisheries policy.

The Commission has difficulty in accepting Amendment 5. It involves an increase in the scope of the agency into areas beyond its inspection and control remit. The Commission is convinced that the scope of its proposal is adequate as it stands and should remain focused on its core tasks – that is, those of control and inspection. Research activities directly related to control can, of course, be considered.

The Commission can accept Amendment 6.

As far as Amendment 7 is concerned, the Commission has difficulty in accepting the substance of this amendment as currently worded. It is too restrictive in that not all fisheries agreements currently include an enforcement arrangement.

Although the Commission cannot accept Amendment 8, the scope of the agency can, of course, include the control of vessels involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as long as it is within the framework of schemes adopted by regional fisheries organisations.

The Commission can accept Amendments 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.

However, the Commission has a difficulty with Amendment 14 concerning the provision of information on the applicability and cost-effectiveness of the rules of the common fisheries policy with regard to control and inspection, since it would substantially modify the mission and tasks of the agency.

The Commission cannot accept Amendment 15 since Article 7 refers only to the obligations of Member States. It should be noted, however, that the Commission has a right to request that the agency provide services relating to the obligations of the Community under Article 5 of the proposal.

I can certainly agree to the important role that the agency will play in training; however, I have difficulty in accepting Amendment 16 since the agency should not be obliged to create a training centre. Member States may, for practical and operational reasons, prefer to have training courses and seminars provided locally. The remit of the agency should not lead to a curtailment of this eventuality.

The Commission can accept Amendment 17.

As for Amendment 18, the Commission has difficulty in accepting the substance of the amendment as currently worded. The suggested role of the Advisory Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture (ACFA) cannot be accepted, as it would put this body, which is of an advisory character only, in a position that is similar to those of the Community institutions such as the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council. Therefore, as much as the Commission welcomes those proposals by which Parliament can be better informed about the works of the agency, it is not in favour of giving the same standing to advisory bodies such as ACFA and the RACs. For the same reason the Commission cannot accept Amendments 22, 42 and 43.

While the Commission cannot accept Amendment 19, it accepts that there is a need to amend the text of the second recital so that it refers to activities both within Community waters and outside Community waters.

The Commission has no comment to make on Amendment 20 as the location of the agency falls within the competence of the Spanish authorities.

The Commission cannot accept Amendment 21.

The Commission has difficulty with Amendments 23 and 24. Firstly, ACFA is an advisory body and should not be involved in management. Secondly, concerning the appointment of the fishing industry representatives, the Commission proposal follows the pattern of other agencies wherever stakeholder representatives are present in administrative boards. In such cases it is usually the Commission that nominates the representatives of the sector.

The Commission has difficulty in accepting Amendment 26 as the administrative board must be able to examine specific items on its agenda without the presence of industry representatives where there is an issue of confidentiality or conflict of interest.

The Commission can accept Amendments 28, 29, 30 and 31.

The Commission has difficulty with Amendment 32. The Commission believes that it is in the Community interest that it retains the power to propose the dismissal of the executive director and that this should be on the basis of a simple majority; otherwise, the position of the Commission is weakened.

The Commission cannot accept Amendment 33 as it is felt that three years is too short a period within which to have an external evaluation.

The Commission has difficulty in accepting Amendment 34 as the text of the Commission proposal is consistent with standard agreed drafting rules whereas the amendment is not.

While the Commission understands the principle of Amendment 35, it cannot accept it since it would be contentious and difficult to implement in practice.

The Commission cannot accept Amendments 36, 38, 39, 40 and 41. They have the effect of weakening the proposal. As I said at the outset, we must succeed in establishing a fisheries control agency that is effective and that can function well. In any case, I understand that the Committee on Fisheries voted against similar amendments at its meeting of 2 February.

The Commission cannot accept Amendment 37 – as I have stated previously, RACs have an advisory role and should not be involved in management.

 
  
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  Attwooll (ALDE), rapporteur. Mr President, Commissioner, the Committee on Fisheries warmly welcomes the proposal to establish a Community Fisheries Control Agency. We believe that it can make a major contribution to the uniform and cost-effective implementation of control and inspection programmes. In the view of the committee, the Agency should also play a significant role in the fight against illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, including in appropriate circumstances its occurrence outside Community waters.

Other amendments seek to establish that the Agency can provide appropriate information and assistance to the Commission and to Member States, for example in relation to health and safety at work, the development of technical inspection solutions and the cost-effectiveness of the common fisheries policy rules on control and inspection. The committee also, as the Commissioner has mentioned, calls for the Agency to be able to establish a training centre for inspectors, rather than just develop a core curriculum.

Where the report differs significantly from the Commission proposal is in the belief that the fishing industry, not the Commission, should nominate its own representatives to the administrative board and that these representatives should have the right to vote.

I turn now to the amendments tabled by the ALDE Group. Two concern the role of regional advisory councils. We believe that there is merit in their being consulted in the course of drafting joint deployment plans, and certainly that they should be informed of the Agency's assessment of the effectiveness of such plans. The remaining amendments centre on joint deployment plans. This, Commissioner, is not an attempt to weaken the proposal.

There appear to be differing interpretations of what is meant by operational coordination. On one interpretation the Agency will be concerned only with providing for the practical deployment of resources which have already been committed by Member States and ensuring that these resources are actually deployed in the manner determined by the plan. This seems to be the model envisaged by the Commission in the flow chart that it provided.

Unfortunately, this model is not adequately reflected in the current wording of Article 12, nor does it square with Article 11(1)(b) of the proposal which, and I quote: 'gives the Agency power to identify the means of control and inspection to be pooled according to the criteria in Article 11(2)'. Similarly, Article 13 specifies that Member States, and I quote again: 'shall commit and make available those means of control and inspection that are identified in the joint deployment plan'.

This is a much more extensive interpretation of the tasks involved in operational coordination and from reading the Commission's flow chart, although not the legal text, it appears to result in considerable control over the actual commitment of resources being placed in the hands of the Agency's executive director alone. The ALDE Group amendments are designed to reconcile these differing interpretations and to ensure that the rules and the practice march hand in hand.

I hope very much that Parliament will accept the amendments but whether it does or not I believe that the Commission and the Council will themselves have to find a means of resolving these issues. I wish to reassure my colleagues again that I am not engaged in any kind of subversive activity. Indeed, I actually favour the more extensive interpretation of operational coordination, subject to the appropriate safeguards.

My fundamental concern is that bad law will not make for a good Agency. For this reason, I shall be recommending to my own Group that we abstain on the report unless Amendments 38 and 39 at least are passed, although we shall of course support the legislative resolution.

 
  
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  Maat (PPE-DE), namens de fractie. Dank u Voorzitter, ik wil ook de rapporteur bedanken voor haar inspanningen. Het is misschien wel symbolisch dat na het ja voor de grondwet in Spanje het visserijcontrolebureau toegewezen wordt aan Vigo en dat lijkt me een terechte beloning, gezien ook de grote politieke inspanningen van onze collega's voor het ja voor de grondwet.

Tegelijkertijd ben ik wat teleurgesteld in de reactie van de Commissaris, want op heel veel amendementen die waren goedgekeurd door de visserijcommissie zei hij dat ze niet te accepteren waren of niet uitgevoerd konden worden. Ik mis toch wel wat ambitieniveau bij de Commissaris op die punten. En ik denk even terug aan die grondwet, want wanneer dit verslag over vijf jaar zou worden behandeld, zou de Commissie er niet zo makkelijk mee weg kunnen komen om te zeggen dit is niet te accepteren of dat kan ik niet; op dat punt zou het goed zijn wanneer de Commissaris iets meer ambitie zou hebben ook met betrekking tot de uitvoering van de amendementen, ook ingediend vanuit mijn fractie.

Een van de hoofdpunten van mijn fractie is toch dat wij constateren dat er in het hele visserijbeleid toenemende mate sprake is van gebrek aan vertrouwen tussen enerzijds de visserijsector en anderzijds Brussel. Die kloof moet worden gedicht, en juist de inzet van de sector zelf, de inbreng van de sector zelf, van de visserijorganisaties in het bestuur van dit visserijcontrolebureau zou ertoe kunnen bijdragen dat de kloof wordt gedicht tussen de Europese Unie en de visserijsector.

Er zijn goede voorbeelden buiten de Europese Unie waar het wel goed gaat. Kijk naar Ijsland, kijk naar Noorwegen, waar de visserijsector meer invloed heeft op het beleid en meer betrokken wordt bij het uitzetten ervan en een goede controle erop. Op dit punt zou de Commissie wat meer ambitie kunnen tonen en ook meer begrip kunnen hebben, ook voor de inzet van de EVP-Fractie om juist die kloof te dichten.

Nogmaals, Voorzitter, ik roep hier met name de Commissaris op om eigenlijk te handelen alsof de nieuwe grondwet al een feit is en ook de inzet van het Parlement meer serieus te nemen, dan weet ik zeker dat het ook met deze nieuwe commissaris en met het nieuwe bureau goed kan komen.

 
  
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  Kindermann (PSE), im Namen der Fraktion. Herr Präsident! Die Kontrolle, ein wichtiger Teil der gemeinsamen Fischereipolitik, erlangt auch in Zukunft noch größere Bedeutung. Es war und ist prioritäres Anliegen des Europäischen Parlamentes, die Kontrolle im Fischereisektor effizienter zu gestalten. Wir unterstützen deshalb den Vorschlag zur Einrichtung einer europäischen Fischereiaufsichtsbehörde.

Es gibt aber in der Europäischen Union große Unterschiede zwischen den einzelnen Fischereiregionen. Deshalb meinen wir, dass es sinnvoll wäre, in der Organisationsstruktur der Behörde regionale Unterschiede zu berücksichtigen. Die gemeinsame Fischereipolitik wurde in den letzten Jahren weiterentwickelt, aber auch internationale Verpflichtungen der europäischen Union im Rahmen der Fischerei sind ein wesentlicher Teil dieser Politik. All dies verlangt wirksame, aber auch einheitliche Kontrollverfahren bzw. eine Kontrollkoordination. Die Einrichtung einer europäischen Kontrollbehörde sollte dies garantieren. Ziel muss es sein, zu einer Verbesserung der nationalen Kontrollstrukturen zu kommen, wobei die Mitgliedstaaten auch weiterhin über die Verwendung ihrer Kontrollmittel bestimmen sollten. Wir gehen davon aus, dass mit der Einrichtung von Organisationsstrukturen auf Gemeinschaftsebene bestehende Rechtsvorschriften konsequenter eingehalten werden könnten.

Einige Änderungsanträge der Berichterstatterin werden unserer Meinung nach diesem Anliegen nicht gerecht und gehen zu sehr in die Breite. Die Zuständigkeit der Agentur muss auch weiterhin sichtbar bleiben. Aus diesem Grund sind wir gegen das Einbeziehen der regionalen Beiräte in die Organisationsstruktur. Auch wenn die Berichterstatterin sehr gute Arbeit geleistet hat, können wir Änderungsanträge, die in diese Richtung gehen, nicht unterstützen.

 
  
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  Booth (IND/DEM), on behalf of the Group. Mr President, around the world, fish conservation is only effective when it is under national control. I have spoken to dozens of fishermen in Devon and Cornwall who know precisely how to conserve fish stocks, but nobody ever asks for their advice. I suggest that the current common fisheries policy, with its totally unworkable quota system designed by office-bound bureaucrats, should be scrapped immediately and replaced by a new fisheries policy designed by the fishermen themselves.

The problem for Britain has been the strict enforcement of the CFP to the nth degree, first of all by MAFF and then by Defra. One example was their insistence that a fisherman called Ken Bagley – whom I happen to know very well – should rub his thumb on the underbellies of five tonnes of sprats to ensure that there were no immature herrings in the catch. In the UK we say 'it takes a sprat to catch a mackerel'. Perhaps we should be saying 'it takes a sprat to catch a herring'! Little wonder that Britain's GDP for fishing has gone down from GBP 561 million in 1964 to GBP 520 million in 2003, despite inflation. In Norway, which controls its own fisheries policy, the figures have increased from NOK 7.5 billion to NOK 10.1 billion over the same period.

The environmental crisis in the North Sea is man-made. It is a classic stratagem of the European Commission to exploit such a crisis in the cause of closer European integration. This is known as a beneficial crisis. Europe's solution to something which is not working is to put even more Europe into it, thus a new fisheries agency is created, based in Vigo, Spain. Surprise, surprise! In future, British fishing boats will be policed in our own territorial waters by patrol boats operating under the control of this new agency and sent out on the authority of the EU's inspectorate based in Madrid. Poor old Francis Drake must be turning in his grave. Perhaps we should get ready to light the beacons!

(Applause)

 
  
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  Allister (NI). Mr President, to believe in a Community fisheries control agency, one has to believe in the common fisheries policy. Northern Ireland's experiences of it have been dire. Courtesy of the CFP, we have seen our fishing fleet drastically reduced by over-regulation and punitive closures. I cannot support the common fisheries policy, and therefore I will not support a Community control agency. In my view, fishing is properly a matter for national control, not EU control. Therefore all inspection mechanisms should be initiated and operated nationally. This agency, alas, is but another part of the empire-building that Brussels so readily takes upon itself.

Faced with the probable reality of the Community fisheries control agency, I will use my vote in this House, as I did in committee, to seek to restrict its ambit and enhance national input.

 
  
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  Fraga Estévez (PPE-DE). Señor Comisario, yo, en cambio, sí que apoyo y aplaudo la creación de la Agencia Comunitaria de Control Pesquero y, en este sentido, sólo me queda pedir su entrada en funcionamiento cuanto antes.

Además, las enmiendas introducidas por la Comisión de Pesca mejoran y completan considerablemente tanto la propuesta inicial de la Comisión como el informe de la ponente con respecto a las verdaderas responsabilidades que deben competer a la Agencia y sin menoscabo de las competencias actualmente depositadas en los Estados miembros.

Este informe ratifica mi convicción de que no es posible contar con unos recursos sostenibles y unas prácticas pesqueras saneadas si no se aborda la política de control sin hipocresías y sin desconfianzas y, desgraciadamente, esta propuesta ha vuelto a poner de relieve que algunos de los países que más hablan de control son luego los más recalcitrantes, al rechazar propuestas serias y eficaces.

Esta Agencia es un paso para que estas actitudes queden cada vez más en evidencia y, aunque queda mucho por hacer, en particular, en el camino de la transparencia en los criterios de inspección por parte de los Estados miembros y en la armonización europea sobre legislación y sanciones, contar con ella es la mejor garantía de que esto puede resolverse en un futuro próximo.

La Comisión de Pesca ha mejorado también el tratamiento que la propuesta daba al sector y, ahí, señor Comisario, no estoy de acuerdo con que la Comisión no acepte las propuestas, porque al sector se le dota de voz auténtica y representatividad en una materia que tanto le afecta y en la que resultaría descabellado tenerle en contra y se han incrementado las responsabilidades de la Agencia para intentar que la Comisión se tome de una vez en serio sus responsabilidades en materia de pesca ilegal no declarada y no reglamentada.

Quiero reconocer también el trabajo de la ponente por sus esfuerzos para encontrar vías de compromiso, y quiero terminar expresando mi satisfacción por que esta Agencia tenga su sede en España, en una ciudad tan emblemática para la pesca mundial como es la ciudad de Vigo.

 
  
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  Miguélez Ramos (PSE). Señor Presidente, entre la larga lista de enmiendas que nos ha relatado el Comisario espero que figure la que fija la sede en Vigo, ya que una de las personas que presentó esta sede es ésta que les habla.

Señor Comisario, creo que el papel de la Comisión de Pesca ha quedado muy en evidencia en lo que se refiere al trabajo relativo a este informe, tanto el de la ponente, la señora Attwooll, que se ha esforzado muchísimo y ha hecho un trabajo encomiable desde mi punto de vista y, desde luego, desde un punto de vista, yo lo sé, absolutamente europeísta, como el de los y las que hemos tratado de enmendar con la mejor voluntad su informe desde dos puntos de vista.

Nuestra comisión ha trabajado, por un lado, con rapidez, para que la Agencia se constituya cuanto antes y cuanto antes se ponga a funcionar y, además, intentando mejorar el texto de la propuesta de la Comisión, porque es verdad que siempre hemos opinado que la propuesta inicial, que no era suya aunque sí era de la Comisión Europea, era demasiado modesta y en ese sentido han ido nuestras enmiendas.

Es verdad que esta Agencia es la primera que se crea con cometidos exclusivamente pesqueros y, en ese sentido nos hemos mirado, señor Comisario, en el espejo de otras agencias que quizá nacieron también con una vocación modesta pero, sin embargo, vieron en un corto espacio de tiempo cómo se les exigían cometidos más y más amplios. Estoy pensando, por ejemplo, en la Agencia Europea de Seguridad Marítima.

La ampliación de sus cometidos ayudaría, señor Comisario, y no lo olvide usted, a hacerla más querida por parte del sector pesquero. Porque es verdad que la propuesta para crearla parte de los debates de la reforma de la política pesquera común como un método para mejorar la coordinación entre Estados miembros en unos aspectos muy concretos de vigilancia y control, pero tampoco deja de ser verdad que nosotros lo que intentamos es ampliar esas competencias para que, además, puedan recibir los Estados miembros y la Comisión asistencia técnica y científica para ayudarles en la correcta aplicación de las normas de la política pesquera común.

 
  
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  Stevenson (PPE-DE). Mr President, I am sure that by now Commissioner Borg will have come to recognise the uncertain pleasure of addressing an empty House on the subject of fisheries late on a Tuesday evening, but at least he has the privilege of talking for more than two minutes. It was also refreshing to hear Commissioner Borg say that he could accept almost half of the committee's amendments. That must be without precedent in the last decade of statements from fisheries Commissioners.

My party, the UK Conservative Party, has a manifesto commitment to withdrawing Britain from the CFP and restoring fisheries management to national and local control. Nevertheless, I recognise that even in circumstances in which Britain is no longer a participating member of the CFP, we will still have many vessels fishing outwith the UK 200-mile limit and in EU and international waters. In these circumstances, and accepting that this proposal is a fait accompli, it is therefore important that we support a workable proposal for the creation of an EU fisheries control agency. I would like to congratulate Mrs Attwooll on the great work she has done on this report.

There is no doubt that the different approach to fisheries control in different Member States has caused widespread ill-feeling in the past. I have often heard fishermen in Scotland saying that fishermen in Spain get off far too lightly. Then you go to Spain and hear fishermen there saying that fishermen in Scotland get off too lightly, so we clearly need a level playing field.

There is also a need for the even-handed application of the rules. The Commission's proposals seek to achieve that objective. I believe, however, that we should try not to gild the lily by embellishing the Commission's plans with amendments which vest even more power in the new agency. On that basis, I am alarmed that the Commission has rejected the consultation of regional advisory councils, which form a very important pillar in CFP reform and give meaningful stakeholder involvement to fishermen, scientists and others involved in the industry. I hope the Commission will reconsider that.

 
  
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  Casaca (PSE). Senhor Presidente, Senhor Comissário Borg, a nossa relatora Elspeth Attwooll, também eu me quero juntar às palavras daqueles que já a felicitaram pelo excelente trabalho. Temos, efectivamente, como já foi afirmado pelo nosso colega Kindermann, algumas divergências de opinião, mas não há dúvida de que se trata de um trabalho de alta qualidade que tem que ser aqui relevado.

Gostaria de começar por lembrar que existem hoje meios electrónicos que permitem controlar de forma eficaz a totalidade da frota comunitária e também dar rapidamente acesso a dados de extrema importância científica para a manutenção de uma pesca sustentável. É exactamente por esta razão que para mim é absolutamente incompreensível que tenhamos, por um lado, uma competência exclusiva que foi justamente classificada como anómala e injustificada pela nossa Comissão das Pescas, ao mesmo tempo que temos uma ausência de exercício de qualquer competência concreta, nomeadamente onde ela é mais necessária e seria mais eficaz por parte da Comunidade, que é neste domínio do controlo à distância.

Esta proposta levanta-me, portanto, as seguintes reflexões. Em primeiro lugar, é obviamente de saudar, como já aqui foi dito por vários dos nossos colegas, mas é de saudar numa perspectiva operacional de que ela venha a ser um instrumento operacional e não apenas mais uma fábrica de papel e de mecanismo giratório burocrático que nada resolve e nada faz. A segunda grande preocupação é que esta agência não sirva para que as políticas comunitárias sejam entregues aos jogos de interesse e de forças em presença, porque nessas circunstâncias são normalmente as regiões mais pequenas que perdem de uma maneira mais clara, bem como a própria pesca sustentável.

 
  
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  Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (PPE-DE). Señor Presidente, señor Comisario, queridos Colegas, fue el Consejo Europeo de diciembre de 2003 quien, a propuesta del Partido Popular, tomó la iniciativa de crear una Agencia Europea de Pesca. Ha sido una buena idea.

La Comisión Europea presentó una propuesta que era manifiestamente mejorable. Nuestra Comisión de Pesca redactó un proyecto de informe que era, también, manifiestamente mejorable. Por ello, podemos decir que el proyecto que ahora se presenta al Pleno es bastante mejor que los iniciales.

Destacaría como mejoras sustanciales la inclusión del sector con voz y voto, la extensión de las competencias a la pesca IUU y la inclusión de las tareas de formación.

Lamento, de todas formas, que solamente se hayan incluido entre las competencias las de investigar y desarrollar soluciones técnicas en relación con el control e inspección, y que el Grupo Socialista se haya opuesto a nuestras enmiendas para dotar a la Agencia de verdaderas competencias en materia de investigación científica pesquera que pudieran contribuir a mejorar los informes en los que se basa la Comisión para hacer sus propuestas legislativas sobre medidas técnicas, conservación de recursos, TACs y cuotas, pues ello haría que la Agencia y sus técnicos participasen más activamente en la política pesquera común dotándola así de mayor credibilidad para el propio sector pesquero.

La Agencia salió reforzada de la reunión de la Comisión de Pesca y espero que lo salga mañana del Pleno, aunque no como a mí me hubiera gustado. Confío en que el Consejo pueda mejorar la situación.

 
  
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  Stihler (PSE). Mr President, I am sure we can all agree that the establishment of a Community fisheries control agency should be welcomed in principle. We hear a lot about the importance of having a level playing field for the application of rules under the common fisheries policy. The creation of the agency in Vigo has the potential to help create more uniform, more effective control and inspection procedures and so increase compliance. It might also reduce overall expenditure on control and inspection measures.

A feasibility study published after the drafting of the regulation suggested that such potential will only be fulfilled if certain organisational and operational criteria are met. This led the rapporteur, Mrs Attwooll, to propose a number of amendments clarifying the text. Many members of the Committee on Fisheries argued that the rapporteur's amendments watered down the role of the agency. I disagreed with this and supported the draft report in committee. The draft report seemed, to me, to clarify the role and responsibility of the Member States, the Commission and the agency and to improve regional involvement.

Joint deployment plans, involving a pooling by Member States of their inspection and control resources are crucial to the success of the agency's work. The amendment retabled by the rapporteur aimed to make sure that the role of the agency as a facilitator is clear.

I have consistently supported a meaningful role for regional advisory councils in fisheries management. For this reason I believe it would also be appropriate for RACs to be consulted during the drafting of joint deployment plans. That would help ensure compliance.

Information about the activities of the agency should be widely circulated and an annual assessment given to the European Parliament, the Commission, the Member States, the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture and the regional advisory councils. I have had some differences with PSE Group colleagues in defining the role of the agency, but I can certainly join with them in welcoming its creation and looking forward to more effective compliance in our fisheries.

 
  
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  Borg, Member of the Commission. Mr President, in my concluding remarks I shall try to reply very briefly to all the speeches made.

In reply to the rapporteur, Mrs Attwooll, I repeat that, with regard to illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, it is important to have these in the work programme, but the Commission does not agree that they should be indicated as a priority task since priorities can change and, therefore, it would be an unnecessary curtailment of the priorities with regard to the agency's functions.

As regards the agency having the remit to set up a training centre: again, the Commission does not believe that this function should be centralised in the hands of the agency, but that there should be flexibility and it should be retained as it is. We consider the changes to the wording – I am referring here to Amendments 36, 38, 39, 40 and 41, from 'preparing', for example, to 'drafting', working 'through its executive director' or the need for 'the endorsement of Member States' and the change from 'instructions' to 'operational guidance' – as a weakening of the text, in spite of the good intentions of Mrs Attwooll. Accepting Amendment 39, for example, would lead to an intergovernmental process.

Let me turn to the comments made by Mr Maat. The five-year period is necessary as the Commission considers that three years is too short a period in which to carry out the necessary evaluation. On the lack of trust between representatives of the fishery industry and the Commission, I would like to say here that the Fisheries Control Agency is a start. As regards the composition of the administrative board and its functions – here we are speaking of control and not simple administration – the fishing industry is a stakeholder and, therefore, giving it voting rights would make it, so to speak, judex in causa propria.

With regard to the comment made by Mr Kindermann– if I understood him correctly – that the competence of the agency must remain clear and that, therefore, RACs should not be included, the Commission agrees with this position.

As regards the comments made by Mr Booth and Mr Allister with regard to the present CFP, that it should be scrapped and that the new policy designed by fishermen , in other words, the nationalisation of the fisheries policy: my own comment is that this is a much wider debate and, therefore, goes beyond the scope of this proposal. Mr Allister again made the same comments as Mr Booth.

As regards the comments by Mrs Fraga Estévez and Mrs Miguélez Ramos that the amendments improved the thrust of the proposal: a number of them do, as I said, and in fact we were in a position to accept over half of them. As regards the others, the Commission's view is that they do not, because they tend to go beyond the scope of the proposal and of the agency, or else destroy the necessary balance of the control mechanism.

As regards the points regarding the industry, again I refer to what I have just said with regard to the comments made by Mr Maat.

Concerning Mr Stevenson, who is willing to support a workable proposal, the Commission, with the amendments accepted by it, attains exactly this. The Commission rejects obligatory consultation of RACs because the RACs have, so far at least, an advisory and not a management role.

As regards Mr Casaca's point that this has to be a real control agency and not another bureaucracy: the Commission agrees, and the proposal tries to give an effective role to the agency.

Mr Varela Suanzes-Carpegna said that a list of competences is not enough: this is noted. At this juncture I can say that not mentioning a specific technological development, for example, that could be used for control purposes does not mean that such would not be possible.

With regard to Mrs Stihler's point on the watering down or otherwise, I can only repeat what I said to Mrs Attwooll. As regards the RACs, I would not exclude voluntary consultation of RACs and redrafting the deployment plans, but I would not advise an obligatory inclusion of consultation of RACs, at least at this juncture.

 
  
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  Le Président. – Le débat est clos.

Le vote aura lieu mercredi à 11 h 30.

 
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