European Council Considers Agreement on EMFF Necessary28 September 2012
EU - The Agriculture and Fisheries Council held an orientation debate on key issues on the proposal for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
The Council noted that the examination of the proposal has been progressing rigorously but there was a need to give guidance on specific issues in order to achieve the objective for a partial general approach agreement at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in October this year.
The ministers called for alignment of the EMFF proposal with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) general approach agreement in June, asking for the incorporation of more fleet measures such as temporary and permanent cessation and investments on board fishing vessels into the EMFF interventions..
Regarding fund allocation within shared management, the ministers asked for further flexibility in order to allow for funds to be used according to CFP rules but focused in areas where they are most needed in each Member State in order to maximise return of public funding. There was also a general consensus that further simplification should be pursued so as to alleviate unnecessary administrative burden and cost.
Summing up the discussions, the Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Sofoclis Aletraris, who chaired the Council, stressed that “the EMFF will be the major financial instrument for attaining the goals and objectives of the new CFP and contributing to Europe 2020 targets.”
Mr Aletraris stressed the importance of reaching an agreement as soon as possible taking into account the timeframe available and the need for a timely adoption of the EMFF proposal as well as subsequent acts that are needed for implementation.
“We are very close to the new Financial Programming period and all MS need to start their programming for the years 2014-2020. It is therefore urgent to come to an agreement on the EMFF as soon as possible order to facilitate immediate implementation when the fund comes in effect in 2014,” he stated
On other issues that were on the agenda, the Council was informed by the Commission about the fisheries partnership protocol between the EU and Mauritania that was initialled in July this year and about the outcome of the meeting on mackerel with the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway that took place in London on September 3.
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