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EU climate action in ocean governance and fisheries policy

22-04-2021

Marine resources are a vital and growing source of food for human consumption, while oceans also play an important role in climate regulation. Scientific evidence shows that the climate system has changed rapidly in recent decades, with the oceans greatly mitigating the effects of climate change by absorbing excess heat and human-made carbon emissions. The velocity of the effects of climate change leaves little room for adaptation, causing both declines in abundance and geographic shifts in fish ...

Marine resources are a vital and growing source of food for human consumption, while oceans also play an important role in climate regulation. Scientific evidence shows that the climate system has changed rapidly in recent decades, with the oceans greatly mitigating the effects of climate change by absorbing excess heat and human-made carbon emissions. The velocity of the effects of climate change leaves little room for adaptation, causing both declines in abundance and geographic shifts in fish populations. As a result, people who rely heavily on seafood and fisheries for their livelihoods run the risk of income loss and food insecurity. The European Green Deal places climate action at the heart of a wide range of new legislative and non-legislative initiatives and includes ambitious goals such as achieving climate-neutrality by 2050 and preserving and protecting biodiversity. The new 'farm to fork' strategy addresses the challenges of sustainability in the food supply chain and, in the area of seafood, highlights the imminent update of the strategic guidelines on aquaculture, the goal to support the algae industry and the focus on climate change in the 2022 common fisheries policy review. In its biodiversity strategy, the Commission proposes a new binding target of 30 % marine protected areas in EU waters by 2030, a target supported by Parliament. A reduction in fishing pressure could also offset the environmental impacts of climate change. The last reform of the common fisheries policy marked an important milestone by requiring fish stocks to be restored and maintained above levels capable of producing the maximum sustainable yield. An own-initiative report from Parliament's Committee on Fisheries focuses specifically on the impact of rising seawater temperatures on fish stocks and fisheries. The oceans can be harnessed to help to close the emissions gap however, by unlocking their renewable offshore energy potential. In its offshore renewable energy strategy, the Commission aims to reach a deployment of 300 GW in offshore wind capacity by 2050, a 20-fold increase compared to today. Another own-initiative report from Parliament's Committee on Fisheries looks into the impact on the fishing sector of offshore wind and other renewable energy systems.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2021-2027

06-04-2021

As part of the EU budget framework for the 2021-2027 period, the European Commission proposed in June 2018 a regulation to continue the fund dedicated to the Common Fisheries Policy and the Integrated Maritime Policy. On 4 April 2019, Parliament adopted its first reading position on the file. After lengthy interinstitutional negotiations, started after the 2019 elections, political agreement was reached on 4 December 2020. The new fund allows for more flexibility in national programmes. A greater ...

As part of the EU budget framework for the 2021-2027 period, the European Commission proposed in June 2018 a regulation to continue the fund dedicated to the Common Fisheries Policy and the Integrated Maritime Policy. On 4 April 2019, Parliament adopted its first reading position on the file. After lengthy interinstitutional negotiations, started after the 2019 elections, political agreement was reached on 4 December 2020. The new fund allows for more flexibility in national programmes. A greater focus on aquaculture is reflected in its inclusion in the name of the fund. A thorny issue in the negotiations was support for investment in fishing vessels, on which the co legislators wanted to go beyond the proposal. The compromise allows aid for vessels up to 24 metres long: support for the first acquisition of a vessel by a young fisherman, the replacement or modernisation of engines, and operations that improve safety, working conditions or energy efficiency. The measures come with restrictive conditions, such as the respect of fishing capacity ceilings. At least 15 % of Member States' allocations should be spent on control and data collection. The agreed text was endorsed by the Committee on Fisheries on 22 February 2021. After adoption by the Council, Parliament is expected to adopt the text and complete the procedure at second reading.

EU climate action policy: Responding to the global emergency

18-03-2021

The European Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, a target supported by all EU institutions. With this objective, the EU takes a leading role in addressing the global climate emergency. Achieving the climate-neutrality goal requires massive investment and an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of the economy. This study explains the physical basis of climate change and highlights its expected impacts on the EU. To give an overview of EU and international climate ...

The European Green Deal aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, a target supported by all EU institutions. With this objective, the EU takes a leading role in addressing the global climate emergency. Achieving the climate-neutrality goal requires massive investment and an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of the economy. This study explains the physical basis of climate change and highlights its expected impacts on the EU. To give an overview of EU and international climate policies, it outlines international climate agreements, EU climate action and the climate policies of major economies. It assesses the coherence of EU climate policy with other policy areas, and presents the financing of EU climate action through the EU budget and other instruments. To assess the implications of the climate neutrality objective, the study analysis the challenges and opportunities for the EU economy and its impacts on issues such as international relations, migration, trade, consumers and health . The final chapter addresses the issues facing European decision-makers and the outlook for European and global climate action in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

EU-UK relations in fisheries

25-02-2021

The United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union has brought significant uncertainty for the fisheries sector. Fisheries, and especially EU fishing rights in UK waters, played a prominent role in the recent negotiations on future EU-UK relations and ultimately became the final obstacle to reaching an agreement, being the very last point to be agreed. The new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, settled on 24 December 2020, marks an important milestone in the long history of fisheries relations ...

The United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union has brought significant uncertainty for the fisheries sector. Fisheries, and especially EU fishing rights in UK waters, played a prominent role in the recent negotiations on future EU-UK relations and ultimately became the final obstacle to reaching an agreement, being the very last point to be agreed. The new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, settled on 24 December 2020, marks an important milestone in the long history of fisheries relations in the North-east Atlantic. The agreement maintains full access to waters until 30 June 2026, with part of the EU quota shares gradually transferred to the UK during this period. After 1 July 2026, access to waters will be decided by a process of annual consultations. The quota shares will remain stable at the 2025 level, and can only be changed with the mutual consent of both parties. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement ensures that fisheries and aquaculture products continue to be traded without tariffs, but non-tariff measures associated with the UK leaving the EU common market, such as certification requirements and customs controls, will involve slower and more expensive trade flows.

Support for fishermen affected by the eastern Baltic cod closure

22-02-2021

Eastern Baltic cod has long supported the livelihoods of many Baltic fishermen, but stocks of this valuable fish have been declining sharply in recent years. Every year since 2014, total allowable catches have been reduced accordingly. Scientific advice published in May 2019 reinforced the concerns regarding eastern Baltic cod, and estimated the stock to be below safe biological limits. Scientists point to high natural mortality resulting from various environmental pressures, including a lack of ...

Eastern Baltic cod has long supported the livelihoods of many Baltic fishermen, but stocks of this valuable fish have been declining sharply in recent years. Every year since 2014, total allowable catches have been reduced accordingly. Scientific advice published in May 2019 reinforced the concerns regarding eastern Baltic cod, and estimated the stock to be below safe biological limits. Scientists point to high natural mortality resulting from various environmental pressures, including a lack of salinity, little oxygen, pollution, high water temperatures and parasite infestation. In July 2019, as an emergency measure, the Commission imposed an immediate closure of the fishery, with the exception of a limited amount arising from by-catch. Subsequently, fishing opportunities for 2020 and 2021 were limited to by-catches. As recovery of the stock is not expected before 2024, the Commission issued a proposal in order to allow support for permanent cessation. After two trilogue meetings, the Council and Parliament reached provisional agreement on the proposal on 22 September 2020. The agreement extended the scope of the support to include fishermen targeting cod and herring in the western Baltic, due to the poor state of, and reduced fishing opportunities for, those stocks. The agreed text was adopted by the EP on 11 November 2020 and by the Council on 13 November 2020. It was published in the Official Journal on 30 November 2020. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: An analytical overview

02-02-2021

This EPRS publication seeks to provide an analytical overview of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK), which was agreed between the two parties on 24 December and signed by them on 30 December 2020, and has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. The European Parliament is currently considering the Agreement with a view to voting on giving its consent to conclusion by the Council on behalf of the Union. The paper analyses many ...

This EPRS publication seeks to provide an analytical overview of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK), which was agreed between the two parties on 24 December and signed by them on 30 December 2020, and has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. The European Parliament is currently considering the Agreement with a view to voting on giving its consent to conclusion by the Council on behalf of the Union. The paper analyses many of the areas covered in the agreement, including the institutional framework and arrangements for dispute settlement, trade in goods, services and investment, digital trade, energy, the level playing field, transport, social security coordination and visas for short-term visits, fisheries, law enforcement and judicial coordination in criminal matters, and participation in Union programmes. It looks at the main provisions of the Agreement in each area, setting them in context, and also gives an overview of the two parties' published negotiating positions in the respective areas.

Sostegno alla pesca del merluzzo bianco e dell'aringa del Baltico

05-11-2020

In occasione della tornata di novembre I, il Parlamento voterà in merito all'approvazione di un accordo provvisorio con il Consiglio che consenta di destinare un sostegno finanziario alla cessazione definitiva delle attività di pesca per taluni settori della pesca nel Mar Baltico, nel quadro del Fondo europeo per gli affari marittimi e la pesca. Il testo concordato amplia il campo di applicazione della proposta della Commissione onde includere non solo i pescatori interessati dal divieto di pesca ...

In occasione della tornata di novembre I, il Parlamento voterà in merito all'approvazione di un accordo provvisorio con il Consiglio che consenta di destinare un sostegno finanziario alla cessazione definitiva delle attività di pesca per taluni settori della pesca nel Mar Baltico, nel quadro del Fondo europeo per gli affari marittimi e la pesca. Il testo concordato amplia il campo di applicazione della proposta della Commissione onde includere non solo i pescatori interessati dal divieto di pesca del merluzzo bianco del Baltico orientale, ma anche i pescatori di merluzzo bianco e aringa del Baltico occidentale che si trovano a far fronte a una considerevole riduzione delle possibilità di pesca.

A Just Transition Fund for climate-neutral EU regions

13-10-2020

The EU aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030, and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The transition to clean energy will be a challenge for those regions highly dependent on fossil fuels and high-emission industries, in particular regions with a high level of employment in the coal sector. The new Just Transition Fund, complementing the existing cohesion policy funds, will provide support to address the social, economic and environmental impacts of the transition in the most ...

The EU aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030, and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The transition to clean energy will be a challenge for those regions highly dependent on fossil fuels and high-emission industries, in particular regions with a high level of employment in the coal sector. The new Just Transition Fund, complementing the existing cohesion policy funds, will provide support to address the social, economic and environmental impacts of the transition in the most affected territories. This paper looks at the new fund and its allocation mechanism; it focuses on the EU coal industry and the potential for clean energy solutions in a selection of coal regions; and finally, it gives an overview of the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by NUTS2 region.

Marketing of and trade in fishery and aquaculture products in the EU

14-07-2020

The European Union is the world's largest market for fishery and aquaculture products, with a total value of extra-EU imports and exports reaching €26.6 billion in 2018. The consumption of fish in the EU exceeded 24 kg per capita in 2017, with the highest consumption levels in Portugal and Spain. In terms of production, the EU-27, excluding the United Kingdom, ranks sixth globally. This includes catches taken by EU vessels on the high seas and in the waters of third countries. The EU's self sufficiency ...

The European Union is the world's largest market for fishery and aquaculture products, with a total value of extra-EU imports and exports reaching €26.6 billion in 2018. The consumption of fish in the EU exceeded 24 kg per capita in 2017, with the highest consumption levels in Portugal and Spain. In terms of production, the EU-27, excluding the United Kingdom, ranks sixth globally. This includes catches taken by EU vessels on the high seas and in the waters of third countries. The EU's self sufficiency ratio of 43 % in fishery and aquaculture products is rather low. As a result, internal demand is primarily met through imports. To ensure the supply of fish to the EU fish-processing industry, import duties are removed or reduced for a number of fishery products up to a specific annual import volume. In addition, products can enter the EU market, at zero or a reduced rate of duty, from countries with which the EU has a free trade agreement in force, or from developing countries that can export to the EU under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). In addition to tariffs, fish imports are subject to EU food hygiene regulations, which set out sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, and the EU's common fisheries policy (CFP). The CFP requirements include EU marketing standards − covering freshness and size categories − and specific labelling requirements that go beyond those required for other food products, for example the obligation to indicate the catch area and the main fishing gear used. Other market areas regulated by the EU cover the support and organisation of professional bodies and exemptions to competition rules. On the one hand, most market intervention mechanisms, such as withdrawal schemes and reference prices, have been removed since the most recent reform of the CFP in 2013. On the other hand, the EU fishing industry now has greater responsibility in the management of supply and demand. The submission of yearly production and marketing plans has become an obligation for all recognised producer organisations.

Three critical issues in EU-UK relations

08-06-2020

Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020, the EU and the UK launched negotiations on a new partnership agreement, to come into effect at the end of the transition period, scheduled for 31 December 2020. The negotiations are intended to address nearly all the domains covered in the Political Declaration negotiated by both parties alongside the Withdrawal Agreement, including trade and economics, fisheries, thematic cooperation, and internal ...

Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020, the EU and the UK launched negotiations on a new partnership agreement, to come into effect at the end of the transition period, scheduled for 31 December 2020. The negotiations are intended to address nearly all the domains covered in the Political Declaration negotiated by both parties alongside the Withdrawal Agreement, including trade and economics, fisheries, thematic cooperation, and internal and external security. As far as negotiations on the future economic relationship are concerned, while the parties agree in principle on an exceptional zero-tariff and zero-quota comprehensive and balanced free trade agreement (FTA) aiming for as 'frictionless' trade as possible, they still disagree on major aspects of the economic partnership, especially fisheries and level playing-field (LPF) commitments. The EU wants the future agreement in the fisheries domain to retain the status quo as far as possible, including reciprocal access to waters in return for access to markets and quota-shares that are based on historical fishing patterns. The EU also insists that an effective LPF would ensure fair competition. After the third round of talks, which took place in May 2020, the UK's chief negotiator, David Frost, said that the EU proposal on fisheries was ‘simply not realistic’, and it was unacceptable that the LPF binds the UK to EU law or standards; if need be, the UK would aim for a less ambitious FTA. The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that negotiating an FTA providing for tariffs would be far more time-consuming, and the EU would still demand the same LPF commitments because 'open and fair competition is not a "nice-to-have", it is a "must-have" '. Following the fourth round of negotiations, from 2 to 5 June, the positions therefore still seemed irreconcilable. However, the long stand-off in the earlier negotiations on UK withdrawal had seemed equally irreconcilable before the final agreement was reached and then ratified. One area in which the two sides did manage to agree in those negotiations is the financial settlement included in the Withdrawal Agreement. While that settlement is now being implemented, it had initially been seen as one of the more difficult areas of the withdrawal negotiations.

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