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Quinta-feira, 18 de Janeiro de 2018 - Estrasburgo Edição revista

11.1. Diferendo UE-Noruega sobre a pesca do caranguejo-das-neves em Svalbard
Vídeo das intervenções
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  Przewodniczący. – Kolejnym punktem porządku dziennego jest debata nad interpelacją dotyczącą kwestii pierwszorzędnych wymagającą odpowiedzi na piśmie skierowaną do Komisji zgodnie z art. 130b Regulaminu przez Alaina Cadeca w imieniu Komisji Rybołówstwa w sprawie sporu między UE a Norwegią dotyczącego połowów kraba śnieżnego na wodach Svalbardu (O-000077/2017).

 
  
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  Jarosław Wałęsa, author. – Mr President, thank you very much for the floor and thank you, Commissioner Vella, for being here with us. I would like to present this major interpellation on the snow crab fishing conflict with Norway on behalf of the Committee on Fisheries.

Today, after the last round of negotiations with Norway and after the Council of Ministers, we already have the answers to two of the three questions I posed before. First of all, the European Commission never truly intended to include the snow crab as the sub-protocol to the EU-Norway Agreement and nor did some of the Member States that are beneficiaries of this agreement support such an idea at all. Also, having no other recommendations from the European Commission, the Council has decided to roll over its decision from last year about the creation of a European snow crab fishery sector.

I presume such a decision was again based on the formal recommendation of the legal services of the European Commission and the Council. So again, this new sector has been included in the tax and quotas regulation, but just on paper for the moment.

This decision cannot be implemented by Member States because European fishermen are being prevented from operating by Norwegian authorities. This is not only the result of the unilateral action of this third country but also because the European Commission failed in the negotiations with Norway and also failed in internal dialogue with the Member States.

The Commission failed to find a practical solution that would let the European fleet start catching snow crab immediately. As a result, European fishermen continue to lose out and Norway is still disrespecting the European Union as a partner. In this situation, the first of the three questions addressed to European Commission still needs a very clear answer. Let me repeat it again. How does the Commission intend to proceed to obtain a fair solution allowing EU vessels to fish for snow crab in Svalbard?

Taking this opportunity, I wish to address one additional issue. Following very carefully this case for years now I cannot resist the impression that all the parties participating in this discussion are focusing on the legal side and their own interests only, and are forgetting the environmental aspect of this matter.

According to scientific researchers, the self-producing population of this invasive species is migrating from the eastern to western part of Barents Sea towards Svalbard. The biomass and density of the snow crab is increasing and is expected to reach a level close to the estimated carrying capacity of the Barents Sea. Snow crab is spreading and may threaten the Barents Sea’s fragile benthic ecosystem.

The conclusion seems to be obvious. It would be wrong to take a purely political or business-driven approach to the present and future commercial exploitation of snow crab. Appropriate and exhaustive measures should be agreed and based on the most recent scientific and catch data. By blocking the European Union’s efforts to enable European vessels to collect catch and scientific data, Norway is increasing the risk of damaging this ecosystem.

Having mentioned this, I insist that all parties to today’s discussion should seek common ground for cooperation and compromise to enlarge necessary knowledge about the snow crab population, for the sake of the necessary protection of the Barents Sea ecosystem.

To conclude, I would like to add one more thing. We have to respect the law, that’s the bottom line. We have to respect the law that is in place. According to international procedures, international treaties, I think, we have the higher ground, we the Europeans and Member States who are party to the Paris Treaty, which is in effect.

That being said, I believe that if we cannot reach the proper conclusions in a very short time, maybe it will be time to move forward with legal action against Norway. I would like to avoid this situation, but maybe it will be the only way to convince our partners in Norway to respect and uphold the law.

 
  
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  Karmenu Vella, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, I would like to thank Mr Wałęsa as well for his remarks. The Commission concluded its annual consultations with Norway on 2018 fishing opportunities at the beginning of last December. On 13 December, the Council reached an agreement on tax and quotas for 2018, which also reflects the agreement with Norway.

Today’s debate on the snow crab fishing disagreement between the EU and Norway is therefore particularly timely. It gives me the opportunity to reassure you that the Commission has been working very hard to try to come to a practical arrangement with Norway which would allow the unblocking of the current situation. Several contacts with Norway took place at different levels, even since the seizure of the Latvian vessel ‘Senator’ in January 2017. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, no satisfactory solution has been reached so far.

Let me now reply precisely to the three questions raised in your major interpellation. You first asked the Commission how it intends to proceed to obtain a fair solution allowing EU vessels to fish for snow crab in Svalbard; secondly, you asked what action the Commission would recommend to the Council for 2018; and thirdly, you asked whether we would include snow crab in the annual EU-Norway consultations. I think the three questions are very closely linked, so let me start by confirming the EU’s legal position.

Our position is that the parties to the Treaty of Paris have a right to non-discriminatory access to snow crab in the waters of Svalbard. As you know, this position is not shared by Norway. Norway’s legal position is that the continental shelf around Svalbard is part of the Norwegian continental shelf and only Norway can authorise fishing for snow crab there.

Since the seizure of the Latvian vessel in early 2017, we have firmly defended our legal position. We remain convinced that the right solution would be for Norway to allow EU vessels to fish for snow crab in Svalbard under the same conditions as Norwegian vessels. However, our Norwegian partners see this differently. Therefore, what the Commission has been trying to do for more than a year now is to come to a pragmatic arrangement with Norway that would allow the resumption of fishing activities for snow crab without prejudice to the EU’s legal position. All this while still maintaining our good working relations with Norway as a key partner for fisheries.

One of your questions suggest that we could have included snow crab in the annual EU-Norway consultations. These consultations took place during the last week of November last year as part of the preparations for the December Fisheries Council. This possibility was indeed explored with Member States ahead of the consultations. During the Fisheries Council in October, ministers exchanged views on the upcoming annual consultations between the European Union and Norway. However, no request was made to include snow crab fisheries in these consultations. I have to stress that linking Svalbard to our bilateral agreement with Norway – which is essentially about exchanges of quotas and access rights – would imply giving up the European Union’s legal position.

Under the Treaty of Paris, there should not be any compensation for access to snow crab around Svalbard. As a part of these consultations, Norway did indeed offer 500 tons of snow crab which could be fished on the entire Norwegian continental shelf. Member States, however, rejected the idea of an exchange. Consequently snow crab was not included in the agreed quota exchanges for this year 2018.

So, what action has the Commission recommended to the Council for 2018? Our proposal for the fishing opportunities regulation maintained the same language concerning snow crab as the regulation for 2017: namely, it contains a recital asserting our interpretation of this Svalbard Treaty and the provision granting 20 fishing authorisations to EU vessels.

On 13 December, the Council reached a political agreement on the basis of this proposal. However, the Commission has also emphasised that the position of Norwegian authorities on this matter is unlikely to change in the near future. Therefore, operators wishing to operate in this fishery in 2018 should be duly informed of the risks that this may entail. Member States should warn interested operators of the risks involved before issuing the licenses for this fishery. Indeed, Norway has already reacted to the inclusion of fishing authorisations for snow crab in the 2018 fishing opportunities regulation. They reiterated their protest, repeated their legal position, and argued that any license issued without Norway’s consent is without legal effect.

The Norwegian Fisheries Minister has also publicly stated that he considers this the end of the informal talks on snow crab. Considering the Norwegian reaction, it is now unlikely that we will find a solution soon which would allow for the resumption of fishing activities for snow crab in the area in the near future in line with our position on Svalbard.

 
  
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  Gabriel Mato, en nombre del Grupo PPE. – Señor presidente, señor comisario, escuchen este headline: «Noruega arresta en Svalbard a un buque europeo que pesca legalmente cangrejos de las nieves, ante la indiferencia de la Unión Europea». Este es un titular llamativo que resume perfectamente la situación y que la vuelve a poner de actualidad, aunque sea un año después. Y creo que no es del todo justo —usted lo ha dicho—. Quiero pensar que la Comisión Europea está intentándolo. Pero es muy alarmante.

Los pescadores europeos se sienten totalmente discriminados frente a los operadores extranjeros y abandonados por las mismas autoridades que les pedimos constantemente que cumplan la estricta legislación de la Unión Europea. Veinte buques, después de haber hecho grandes inversiones tras la decisión de la Unión Europea de autorizarlos a pescar en 2017, permanecen desde entonces en el puerto, entre otros, el buque español Adexe Primero, mientras que los buques noruegos continúan capturando este valioso recurso.

Muchos empleos y familias de la Unión Europea dependen directamente de esta actividad y no tienen otra alternativa. La actitud agresiva y las intimidaciones de Noruega, que se niega de manera provocativa a cumplir los acuerdos internacionales, son política y legalmente inaceptables. Así lo han dicho también los tribunales noruegos, diciendo que son ilegítimas y contrarias a las obligaciones internacionales asumidas por Noruega.

Entiendo que la Comisión está tratando de encontrar una solución pragmática —decía el comisario— con Noruega que permita continuar con la pesca sin poner en tela de juicio la posición sobre la interpretación del Derecho internacional aplicable. Sin embargo, si bien es importante mantener esa posición de la Unión Europea, es igualmente importante encontrar una solución viable para nuestros operadores.

La Comisión debe, sin duda alguna, continuar sus esfuerzos hacia esa solución pragmática, pero no puede ser pasiva y, sobre todo, no puede ser tan precavida. Las acciones deben llevarse a cabo al más alto nivel. La situación es muy grave y se tienen que tomar medidas con urgencia. La solución, señor comisario, no es solo avisar a los pescadores de que van a ser arrestados. Los pescadores esperan algo más de nosotros.

 
  
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  Andrejs Mamikins, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, I would like to ask our dear colleagues whether they have wondered why we in the European Parliament have pay attention to a dispute between the EU and Norway over snow crabs. In practice, the question is not just about snow crabs, but also about control of Arctic mineral resources

As a signatory to the Svalbard Treaty, the EU has the right to issue licenses for the harvesting of snow crabs. In 2016 the European Commission explicitly issued such licenses to 11 Latvian vessels, more than to any other EU Member State. This practice will have further implications and will go further than just crabs. Soon we will have to speak about petroleum, minerals and gas on the continental shelf surrounding Svalbard.

Climate change will lead to changes in the Arctic landscape and will uncover new resources. In addition, new maritime routes will appear in the region, which will affect the major economic interests of all the signatories of the Svalbard Treaty.

Colleagues, if you fail to arrive at a sustainable agreement with Norway on snow crabs we are going to have much more important disputes with Norway and other signatories of the Svalbard Treaty, like the United Kingdom and Japan, for example.

A lot has changed since 1920 when the treaty was signed, and the time has come to create new arrangements. In many aspects, Norway is closely integrated into EU policies. Despite not being a Member State of the EU, Norway is a part of the EU variable geometry and represents many characteristics we require from our European Member States. Losing this balance would mean jeopardising the close partnership and relations constructed during the last decades.

The EU urgently needs an agreement with Oslo on a specific legislative scheme for snow crab fishing, otherwise strong confrontation will arise and others will take the EU’s position as an international trading partner. In addition, this situation calls into question the importance of the EU regulations in fisheries sectors. We cannot deprive our businesses of new opportunities related to snow crabs just because our legislative framework is incomplete.

The European Commission must guarantee the legitimate rights of the Member States granted licenses for fishing snow crab in Svalbard waters. The situation where EU vessels stay in ports out of fear of being arrested is unacceptable.

(The speaker continues in Latvian)

2017. gada janvārī saistībā ar sniega krabju zveju Norvēģijas teritoriālās Svalbāras (Špicbergenas) ūdeņos arestēts Latvijas zvejas kuģis “Senators”. Arests pārkāpj 1980. gadā apstiprināto Eiropas un Norvēģijas vienošanos par zvejniecību. Turklāt Norvēģijas valdība ir pārkāpusi nediskriminēšanas principus, kuri minēti Parīzes 1920. gada līgumā. Saskaņā ar 1920. gada Špicbergenas vienošanos arhipelāgs atrodas norvēģu suverenitātes zonā, tomēr valstis, kuras parakstījušas vienošanos, ir tiesīgas izmantot dabas resursus, tostarp arī tos, kas atrodas teritoriālajos ūdeņos.

Eiropas Savienība nav veikusi nekādus pasākumus sakarā ar Latvijas kuģa arestu un nepievērš lietai praktiski nekādu uzmanību. Latvijas krabju ķērāju zaudējumi sasniedz ap 100 miljoniem euro, un kopā ar nesaņemto peļņu tie ir mērāmi aptuveni ap 200 miljonos euro.

Latvijas minētais precedents ir ieguvis arī diplomātisku nokrāsu. Esam nonākuši pie tā, ka norvēģi uzskata Latvijas zvejniekus par maluzvejniekiem, bet mūsējie norvēģus — par pirātiem. Man ir ļoti žēl, kolēģi, ka Eiropas Komisijas neiesaistīšanās dēļ šīs problēmas risināšana starp Latviju un Norvēģiju notika divpusējā kārtībā un tikai aiz slēgtām durvīm. Norvēģijas pozīcija ir izskaidrojama ar bažām, ka neierobežota sniega krabju zvejniecība Špicbergenas ūdeņos var radīt precedentu, kas ļaus pēc tam ārzemju kompānijām patvaļīgi izmantot resursus. Tomēr sniega krabju jautājums nav jāizskata kā spiediena mēģinājums uz Norvēģiju.

Eiropas Savienībai ir jāieņem stingra pozīcija un jāaizstāv Eiropas zvejnieki no turpmākiem zaudējumiem, un ir jāgarantē Norvēģijai, ka tālāka resursu ieguve tiks saskaņota atsevišķas vienošanās ietvaros.

Mr President, this is a question of our external and internal credibility. Now it’s time to start negotiations with Norway. If we do not agree about snow crabs now, it will be extremely difficult to arrive at a beneficial agreement on the EU’s resources.

Dear Members of this Parliament, by pretending not to see the gravity of this problem we undermine our own interests. Thank you for keeping this in mind in further contacts with Norway.

 
  
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  Urszula Krupa, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Panie Przewodniczący! Wydaje mi się, że problem przedstawiony w interpelacji jest natury czysto prawnej. Zgodnie z art. 2 traktatu paryskiego dopuszczalne jest, by państwa jako strony traktatu mogły swobodnie dokonywać połowów i polowań na wyspach i wodach terytorialnych, co także dotyczy krabów. W traktacie napisano także, że rząd norweski ma prawo podejmować działania prawne i faktycznie mające na celu ochronę przyrody i łowisk pod warunkiem, iż wprowadzone restrykcje obejmować będą każdy z krajów objętych traktatem w jednakowy sposób. W traktacie też podano możliwość organizowania przedsiębiorstw, jakie mogą być zakładane przez podmioty pochodzące z państw, które ratyfikowały traktat, gdzie także obowiązuje zasada równości z zakazem organizowania monopoli. Wszystkie kraje, które są stronami traktatu, mają prawo zarówno do połowów na wodach terytorialnych, jak i do ewentualnego wydobywania ropy czy gazu znajdujących się pod dnem morskim, jednak powinny przestrzegać norweskiego prawa.

Warto podkreślić, że Unia Europejska jako całość nie stanowi podmiotu, który jest stroną traktatu, i fakt, że prawie wszystkie kraje unijne ten traktat ratyfikowały, nie zmienia niczego z prawnego punktu widzenia. Unia jako taka na razie nie jest podmiotem żadnych praw przewidzianych w traktacie, co prawdopodobnie jest powodem, że Norwegowie sprzeciwiają się połowom dokonywanym tam przez statki państw członkowskich, które miały licencje wydane przez Unię Europejską, a nie przez dane państwo jako stronę traktatu. Każdy z krajów, który ratyfikował traktat, może korzystać z możliwości, czego przykładem jest działanie Norwegii i Federacji Rosyjskiej, które wydobywają tam węgiel kamienny, czy Polski, która posiada na Spitsbergenie własną stację badawczą. To Komisja powinna doprowadzić do zmiany przepisów prawa.

 
  
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  Ivan Jakovčić, u ime kluba ALDE. – Gospodine predsjedniče, ovo je još jedan primjer kada nejasna politika ne djeluje na vrijeme, kada još jednom, nažalost, mi ovdje izabrani i kada Europska komisija ne djeluje na vrijeme u zaštiti europskih ribara. Norveška je naš partner i prijatelj. Po mnogo čemu imamo isprepletene interese i naravno da mogu razumjeti ponekad neke situacije koje znače jednu vrstu izolacionizma i egoizma i vlastite zaštite. Međutim, ona nije u skladu s ničim. U tome je glavni problem. Zato očekujemo od Vas, gospodine povjereniče, očekujemo od Europske komisije da zaštiti interese ribara, europskih ribara, u tom prostoru, u tom moru koje je blizu našeg kontinenta, blizu naših obala i da naši ribari budu zaštićeni i da snježna rakovica bude dio prava na izlov i na području Svalbarda.

Ja se gospodine povjereniče ne mogu oteti dojmu da globe koje dobivaju ili koje je dobila latvijska ribarica pomalo sliče na ono što se, nažalost, dešava između dviju članica Europske unije, između Hrvatske, iz koje ja dolazim, i drage, prijateljske, susjedne Slovenije. Zadnjih nekoliko mjeseci slovenska policija, slovenske vlasti, izdaju globe hrvatskim ribarima. To je između dviju članica Europske unije. Europska komisija ne reagira, nijema je i to nije dobro za ribarsku politiku, dobrosusjedske odnose, prijateljstvo među zemljama članicama. Mi nešto tu moramo napraviti. Mi očekujemo od Vas, gospodine povjereniče, i od vas iz Komisije da djelujete i reagirate, jer to je neodrživo stanje u ovom trenutku u tom dijelu Jadrana.

Isto tako, kada govorimo o važnoj temi koja je direktno vezana uz ribarstvo, a to je pitanje ekologije mora, jasno je da u ovom slučaju kad govorimo o snježnoj rakovici imamo situaciju po kojoj invazivne vrste koje dolaze uglavnom s istoka gotovo da požderu sve na što nailaze. Međutim, mi s druge strane moramo upravo imati i odgovor na takve teme jer nismo učinili dovoljno za zaštitu naših mora. Prije neki dan imali smo izvještaj gospodina Matoa u kojemu je bilo niz ekoloških tema iz zaštite nedorasle ribe. Ja sam glasovao za mogućnost izlova mrežama plivaricama, glasovao sam za mnoge stvari koje su direktno vezane uz ekologiju i pomažu ekosustavima u moru. Međutim, ja mislim da moramo staviti ruku na srce i sami sebi reći da nismo dovoljno učinili, ni u slučaju Norveške, Jadrana i mnogih situacija u kojima smo se našli i zato očekujem od Vas da zaista brzo reagiramo.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Mr President, this, in many respects, is extraordinary. Here we have a situation where we have an international agreement going all the way back to 1920, where fishing boats from the European Union are entitled to equal access to the Svalbard fishing resources and they are being denied it. And it seems that we cannot or will not do anything about it.

This just isn’t acceptable, especially with a country like Norway, which while not being in the European Union has all the benefits, as such, of the European Union. You would, therefore, imagine it would be obliged to uphold the rules and laws, especially in relation to a treaty that, as I said, goes back to 1920.

If another country decided something else: let’s say within the European Union, if a country said: ‘we don’t believe in the free movement of people, we’re not going to do it’, our legal advice is that this shouldn’t be the case, and yet they just continue on.

This is where I agree with my colleagues Jarosław and Mr Mato, that the European Commission has to be stronger in this. It is not their fault. It is Norway’s fault, but we have to look to them to solve the problem. And, with respect to the Commissioner saying that Norway is unlikely to change in the future, and therefore the 20 vessels that Mr Mato spoke about should really not bother going up there, because they could be, like the Latvian vessel, Senator, arrested, ordered to pay a seizure fine of EUR 100 000 and fined afterwards.

So that is your advice to them? Who stands for these people? These are people who want to have a livelihood. Snow crab fishing is their livelihood, and we are saying ‘oh, we’re the powerful European Union which represents 500 million people’, but when a little country like Norway won’t comply with us so our advice to you is ‘sorry lads, wait until Norway changes its mind’.

This is ridiculous and I think that there must be some way outside of the confines of Commissioner Vella’s portfolio to broaden this issue, and to say to Norway ‘you have benefits in the European Union, now if you don’t comply with this agreement, we’re going to have to look at those’.

That is the only way, because if we wait for them to change their mind, as the Commissioner said, we will be disappointed: they’re as happy as Larry now because they have what they want. Our boats will not go there. We tell them not to go there because Norway won’t accept it, and that’s just what Norway wants.

So either we decide to do something about it or we stop talking about it. One or the other. I’m not blaming Commissioner Vella; we should be supporting him and using all the powers of the European Union to get this solved, because the European Union is about everybody, big and small. The fishermen here are the small, and the big must come to their aid. That’s what I want to see happening.

 
  
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  Ангел Джамбазки (ECR). – Г-н Председател, г-н Комисар, както стана ясно причината за днешния разговор е спорът между Европейския съюз и Норвегия относно улова в Свалбард. Правото на равен достъп до ресурсите там се гарантира от клаузата за недискриминация, заложена в Парижкия договор от 1920 година, в който участват повечето от държавите – членки на Европейския съюз.

Въпреки това траулерите и риболовните кораби на ЕС, които извършват тази риболовна дейност в Свалбард, са възпрепятствани от норвежките власти, въпреки че разполагат с валидни разрешителни от Европейския съюз. Наскоро латвийският плавателен съд, за който говориха останалите колеги, беше задържан в продължение на месеци и глобен с 200 хиляди евро.

Уважаеми г-н Комисар, тук става дума за работни места, тук става дума за икономика. Съвсем очевидно е, че Комисията не е положила достатъчно усилия, за да може да гарантира разрешителните и двустранните отношения с Норвегия, така че това, което ние изискваме от Вас, е да положите повече усилия, така че Норвегия да признава европейските разрешителни и да гарантира тези работни места.

 
  
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  Artis Pabriks (PPE). – Mr President, dear Commissioner, unfortunately the situation is not only about snow crabs and our relationship with Norway. It is about something more. It is about European citizens’ trust in the European Commission and institutions; it is about jobs, and it is about money. I understand that we are involved in a big legal battle with Norway, and I believe that we can find enough good lawyers to win this battle. If we cannot we can fire the existing ones and find better ones.

In the meantime, our fishermen are losing jobs and money, and the small Latvian company which owns the ship, which has been held for more than a year now, has incurred direct losses of more than EUR 2 million. This undermines our trust, and the trust of our citizens, in the European Commission’s work and the European Union. For a long time now, they have been unable to solve this issue or implement their promises. If we are, through our regulation, giving a permit for licenses we should implement this law and abide by it.

While you are waging these battles and trying to find a pragmatic solution, you also have to find the courage to pay money and compensation to these fishermen. We will sort out who will ultimately pay whom afterwards. However, besides the legal issues, there is also the necessity of covering those expenses which people are seeing every minute, hour and year. This is the Commission’s mandate: you have to pay for that.

(The speaker did not agree to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8) from Andrejs Mamikins)

 
  
 

Zgłoszenia z sali

 
  
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  Maria Grapini (S&D). – Domnule președinte, domnule comisar, sper că ascultați, lucrurile sunt mult mai extinse decât subiectul de astăzi. Evident că discuția de astăzi ne aduce în față o problemă pe care o regăsim și în alte cazuri: puterea de negociere a Comisiei Europene în acorduri comerciale cu țările non-europene. Ne așteaptă și acordul Brexit cu Marea Britanie, avem și cu Elveția probleme, dar iată că neînțelegerea dintre Norvegia și Uniunea Europeană aduce prejudicii economice, sigur, și o dimensiune de mediu.

Eu vă mulțumesc că ați fost foarte corect, domnule comisar, și ne-ați informat că încă n-ați ajuns la niște soluții. Întrebarea și dezbaterea de astăzi aveau rolul să aflăm când și de ce Consiliul amână și de ce dumneavoastră nu găsiți o soluție. Noi nu putem să ne rugăm de Norvegia. Există un acord și trebuie respectat. Nu putem să avem pierderi economice în spațiul european, sigur, de la cei mai mici pescari – ne referim aici la bugetele naționale ale statelor care acum nu pot să beneficieze de acordul care este în vigoare între Uniunea Europeană [și Norvegia].

Și cred, domnule comisar, că dumneavoastră trebuie să vă întoarceți la Comisie și să spuneți foarte clar că nu este singurul caz. Comisia trebuie să înțeleagă că trebuie să rezolve în timp foarte scurt aceste litigii pentru a nu aduce prejudicii suplimentare. Și așa durează de atâta timp și acest lucru, așa cum spuneam, se regăsește și în alte cazuri.

 
  
 

(Koniec zgłoszeń z sali)

 
  
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  Karmenu Vella, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, honourable Members, as I said in my introduction, the Commission has endeavoured to reach a pragmatic arrangement with Norway that would have allowed the resumption of fishing activities for snow crab without prejudice to the EU’s legal position on Svalbard. To protect the interests of our fishermen, we have been working at each stage of the process, in close cooperation with Member States. Every step has been prepared and established by consulting all Member States and keeping them regularly informed.

We were not able to conclude successfully, partly because of the narrow margins of manoeuver defined by Member States, and partly because Norway focused on one single solution, which is a quota exchange for the entire Norwegian continental shelf.

You should nevertheless appreciate that we managed to preserve our position on Svalbard, as requested by Member States, and that we managed to avoid an escalation. In particular, we were able to conclude successful bilateral fisheries arrangements for 2018 to the satisfaction of Member States and Norway.

I think a number of you, including Mr Wałęsa, asked why the European Union was not taking Norway to court. Here I would like to underline, as MEP Krupa, mentioned that the European Union is not party to the Paris Treaty and therefore it cannot take Norway to court for non-compliance with that treaty.

Mr Pabriks also mentioned the issue of compensation. Direct compensation for such losses is not possible under any of the EU funds in this case. However, the EMFF can assist fishermen who want to seek other fishing opportunities to adapt their vessels and gears so as to avoid staying idle in port.

The issues, and this has also been pointed out by Mr Mamikins, at stake around Svalbard go beyond fisheries interests and are too important to allow the conflict to drift towards an escalation, so prudence is important. From our side, we are prepared to continue the talks with Norway, but obviously we will need to wait for a new window of opportunity.

I would like to conclude by thanking you very much for your kind attention and, as Mr Kelly mentioned, your support as well.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Przewodniczący. – Zamykam debatę.

 
Última actualização: 15 de Maio de 2019Aviso legal - Política de privacidade