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General Support For EMFF

EU - Europche and Copa-Cogeca welcome with interest the proposal for a new EuropeanMaritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) which has just been adopted by the Commission,replacing the current European Fisheries Fund (EFF) as well as other instruments over theperiod 2014-2020.

This was the reaction of Europêche President, Javier Garat and Chairman of the Copa-Cogeca WP on FISH, Giampaolo Buonfiglio, who recognise that effort has been made in a bid towards innovation, partnerships between scientists and fishermen, the sustainability of fishing activity and the competitiveness of aquaculture. The latter has been called on to play a leading role for the future. That said, they feel that a number of areas have been neglected and are without financial resources from the new Fund.

Both the President and Chairman, who were shocked last July by the absence of any socioeconomic dimension to the policy when the initial package of measures for the CFP reform was adopted by the Commission said: “We recognise that some of the sector's essential needs are relatively well covered by the Commission's proposal, which will help to contribute towards meeting the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. There are provisions covering the promotion of human capital, social dialogue and on-board health and safety, however the creation of jobs in the sector, in particular for young people, is severely lacking”.

Mr Garat and Mr Buonfiglio greatly regret that the Commission has proposed to end all financial support for scrapping vessels, despite the fact that many EU Member States called for it to be maintained. They are also stopping support to compensate the socio-economic impact of temporarily ceasing fishing activity for biological reasons. In its proposal the Commission also remains silent on how the stakeholder consultation process will be governed on horizontal matters which will not be covered by the future Advisory Councils.

The Commission indicated that integrating the existing financial instruments into a single Fund would mean greater simplification of the system, however all three European organisations remain unconvinced, fearing more bureaucratic and complex legislative provisions.

President Garat and Mr Buonfiglio are therefore calling for the new EMFF mechanisms to be widely disclosed so that funds are not under-used in the next programming period.

Finally, as frequently called for by Europêche and Copa-Cogeca, it is hoped that European sector organisations will also have access to the financial resources of the EMFF in order to pursue European or transnational projects e.g. holding seminars on CFP matters, disseminating the outcomes from projects of joint-interest, or organising meetings to develop fisheries and aquaculture partnerships with third countries.

Charlotte Johnson

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