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Procedure : 2004/2263(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0341/2005

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Debates :

PV 14/12/2005 - 18

Votes :

PV 15/12/2005 - 5.22
PV 15/12/2005 - 5.23

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Texts adopted
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Thursday, 15 December 2005 - Strasbourg
Women's networks

European Parliament resolution on Women's networks: fishing, farming and diversification (2004/2263(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds(1),

–   having regard to the innovative actions financed within the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) on the basis of Article 22 of Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999,

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2792/1999 of 17 December 1999 laying down the detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector(2),

–   having regard to the conference on the role of women in the fisheries sector organised by the Commission on 23-24 January 2003 in Brussels,

–   having regard to its resolution of 3 July 2003 on women in rural areas of the European Union in the light of the mid-term review of the common agricultural policy(3),

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council regulation for a European Fisheries Fund (COM(2004)0497),

–   having regard to its position of 6 July 2005 on the proposal for a Council Regulation on the European Fisheries Fund(4),

–   having regard to Articles 13, 32, 137, 141 and 158 of the Treaty establishing the European Community,

–   having regard to the extent of development of women's networks in fisheries-dependent communities,

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinion of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A6-0341/2005),

A.   whereas the role of women in fisheries-dependent communities has traditionally been a largely invisible one,

B.   whereas, although women form only a small proportion of those engaged in capture fishery, they are in fact active in harvesting and aquaculture, processing, marketing, research, journalism, management, business, training, including safety at sea, and representation, as well as in providing other forms of support for those engaged in the fishing industry,

C.   whereas, despite their clear economic value and the benefits they bring to the sector in general, many of these activities are undertaken on a voluntary basis or are poorly paid, with a consequent lack of adequate social protection; whereas, likewise, this work is often carried out with a high level of risk or with serious effects on health,

D.   whereas there are many parallels in these regards with women in farming communities,

E.   whereas women are particularly well placed to provide information on the socio-economic impact of implementing the Common Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy and on the impact of restructuring on the industries concerned,

F.   whereas although the role of women in fisheries-dependent communities has gained greater recognition since the aforementioned conference on the role of women in the fisheries sector and the extent of networking between women has increased, there seems to be insufficient information about the numbers and nature of existing networks,

G.   whereas women's networks not only provide mutual support but can make a major contribution to the economic and social development of fisheries-dependent communities,

H.   whereas the networks still appear to be confined to local and regional levels and developed unevenly across the European Union, with a particularly low profile in the newer Member States,

I.   whereas the North Sea Women's Network has a place on the North Sea Regional Advisory Council,

J.   whereas there are still too many legal and social barriers to the full participation of women in the fisheries sector in representative activities, which may even extend to them being barred from decision-making bodies in some communities or associations,

1.  Recognises the role that the Commission has played in hosting the aforementioned conference on the role of women in the fisheries sector and in funding a number of innovative actions, and welcomes its intention to host another Conference in the near future; believes, nonetheless, that insufficient progress has been made;

2.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to launch the necessary actions to secure greater legal and social recognition of, promote and raise the profile of the work of women in the fisheries sector, to support their efforts to obtain better living conditions for their families and communities and to guarantee social and economic rights, including wage equality, unemployment benefit in case of interruption of work (temporary or definitive), the right to obtain a pension, the reconciliation of work and family life and access to parental leave, access to social security and a free health service, and the protection of safety and health at work;

3.  Calls on the Commission to produce a report as soon as possible identifying the nature, extent, objectives and activities of women's networks in fisheries throughout the European Union, paying particular attention to the situation in the newer Member States;

4.  Underlines the fact that women's active participation in fisheries-related activities helps to preserve cultural traditions and specific practices and aids the survival of their communities, thereby ensuring the protection of cultural diversity in these regions;

5.  Recognising that these networks have emerged above all from local or regional initiatives, calls on the Commission to look into specific measures to provide active support for both the development of existing women's networks, particularly where they are less consolidated, and their creation where no such networks exist;

6.  Calls on the Commission also to consider what measures it might take to assist in the development of a women's network at pan-European Union level, paying particular attention to the need to eliminate linguistic barriers;

7.  Calls on the Commission to establish appropriate channels to increase and disseminate information on the situation of women in the various areas which make up and are linked to the fisheries sector, and to promote sociological research on fishing communities; calls on the Commission to provide active support for existing women's networks and the creation of new networks, at national, regional and local level, and to foster the exchange of information and good practices; underlines, in this context, the need for close cooperation with the future European Institute for Gender Equality with a view to improved effectiveness as regards identifying and combating discrimination against women in these communities;

8.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to give a commitment to take the necessary measures to eliminate the administrative and social barriers hampering women's full participation and progress in all areas of the fisheries sector through specific actions for the sector, and to ensure the full application of the principle of equal treatment and opportunities for women and men in all fields, in particular training, and access to funding and loans, including micro-credits, etc. to encourage entrepreneurship;

9.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote more vocational training and education specially geared to the activities of women working in the fisheries sector and to set up mechanisms to improve the provision of information about training opportunities and the funding available to make use of them;

10.  Welcomes the provisions in the proposed European Fisheries Fund that oblige Member States to ensure that operations to enhance the role of women in the fisheries sector are promoted and calls on the Council to adopt Parliament's Amendment 24 in its aforementioned position on the European Fisheries Fund which emphasised that efforts on a trans-national level should also be promoted; nevertheless urges the Commission to support specific projects which have as their objective the recognition, promotion and diversification of women's role in fisheries-related areas;

11.  Urges the Commission, likewise, to draw up a specific pilot project to address the particular situation of shellfish gatherers;

12.  Believes that the provisions of the European Fisheries Fund should afford an opportunity to support activities that have hitherto been undertaken on a voluntary basis and calls on the Commission to consider what other sources of funding might be made available to women's networks in the fisheries sector, including sources of micro-credit;

13.  Believes further that an important use of fisheries-related European funding would be the involvement of women's networks in projects researching the impact of restructuring on the fishing and farming industries;

14.  Calls on the Commission to maintain the FEMMES programme and include networks of women working in fisheries-related occupations;

15.  Believes also that women's networks have an important role to play in the development of Coastal Action Groups and that there should be sufficient flexibility in the use of the Structural Funds to allow the integration of the activities of women in fisheries-dependent communities and of women in farming communities in coastal areas;

16.  Stresses the need to strengthen women's effective participation in representative, decision-making and advisory fisheries bodies at European, national and regional level, and believes that a Commission recommendation to the competent bodies to take action in this regard would make a positive contribution;

17.  Believes that women's networks can contribute to improving safety at sea and to improving the sustainability of fisheries, in particular by promoting consumption of fish from sustainable stocks and discouraging consumption of fish from unsustainable stocks;

18.  Calls on the Commission to report regularly to Parliament on the development of women's networks in the fisheries sector and on the basis on which their activities are being funded; calls on the Commission to keep Parliament periodically informed of developments in the situation of women in the fisheries sector;

19.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to review the situation of women in fishing and farming communities at European, national and regional level and to address any issues relating to the adequacy of their health and other social protection and to remove any barriers to their participation in representative activities; proposes, as an initial measure, that the Commission make a recommendation to the competent bodies that they take action in this regard;

20.  Shares the concern of women working in the sector at the scant presence of young people in fishing activities, and calls on the Commission to launch measures to encourage young people to work in the sector in order to ensure its continuity;

21.  Calls on all those engaged in the formation of Regional Advisory Councils to ensure the participation of representative delegates from women's networks in their activities, particularly with regard to work on the socio-economic impact of fisheries policy; considers that, in this connection, consideration should be given to the extent to which women's networks can be compensated for the costs they incur;

22.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission, the governments of the Member States and the Regional Advisory Councils.

(1) OJ L 161, 26.6.1999, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 337, 30.12.1999, p. 10.
(3) OJ C 74 E, 24.3.2004, p. 882.
(4) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0282.

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