Fishing boats anchored in the Basque Country, Spain
EU countries agree to changes in the Fisheries Fund, which Brussels does not like
Friday, June 21, 2019, 23:00 (GMT + 9)
The Member States approve flexibility rules and the European Commission believes that efforts in favor of sustainable fisheries are jeopardized.
The countries of the European Union closed an agreement on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for 2021-2027 which, according to the European Commission, creates the risk of increasing fleet capacity and jeopardizing efforts in favor of fishing. sustainable.
The EU Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries, meeting in Luxembourg, introduced a series of changes in the initial proposal of Brussels to give it greater "flexibility" and reduce the complexity of its rules, so that it is easier to benefit from the aid .
Despite the misgivings of the European Commission, the countries agreed to maintain certain aid for the construction of new ships or the renewal of the engines of some ships, one of the aspects that Brussels rejected.
The Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, assessed the agreement reached and recalled that Spain, France and Italy promoted some of the changes introduced in the initial proposal.
In particular, it considered positive that the Fund maintains some "important" traditional aids for the fishing sector and flexibility in the limit of financing compensatory aids for the outermost regions, such as the Canary Islands.
In addition, the Spanish head stressed that the future European Fund "will not increase the capacity of the fleet" and stressed that, when talking about "sustainability", the first "is human".
"There is no Member State that proposes an increase in capacity. Of course it is not going to do in any case Spain, "said Planas before his counterparts.
France talks about "good commitment"
In the same sense, the French Minister of Fisheries, Didier Guillaume, said in statements to the press that there is a "good compromise among countries where the Fund should remain an instrument against overfishing" and that its objective is " help the modernization of the fleet. " "The renewal is not to fish more, but to fish better," stressed the French owner.
For his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Canary Islands, Narvay Quintero, who attended the meeting on behalf of the Autonomous Communities, told Efe that the agreement reached is good because it takes into account many of the issues that the Canary Islands had raised, and criticized the position of the European Commission. "I do not understand the criticisms of the Commission, and more in the case of the Canaries, a totally artisanal fleet," he said.
The European Fisheries Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, criticized some of the changes introduced to his proposal, considering that they will endanger the sustainability of fishing.
"I urge you to act with caution, because there is a lot at stake in terms of the sustainability of the sector and our international credibility," Vella said at the end of the debate among the ministers.