In its proposals for the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), published on Wednesday, 02 May 2018, the European Commission also proposes to mobilise the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) around three main priorities:

  • Safeguarding healthy seas and oceans and delivering sustainable fisheries and aquaculture by reducing the impact of fisheries on the maritime environment while enhancing the competitiveness and the attractiveness of the fisheries sector;
  • Promoting the blue economy, particularly by fostering sustainable and prosperous coastal communities towards investment, skills, knowledge and market development;
  • Strengthening international ocean governance and the safety and security of maritime space in areas which are not already covered by the international fisheries agreements.

While the CPMR shares these priorities, the budget announced to implement them through the EMFF is very worrying. The European Commission is proposing that the EMFF be given only EUR 5.4 billion against 6.4 million today. This represents a drastic drop of 15%.

The European Commission’s proposal concerning the content of the EMFF is expected by the end of May. Only then will it be possible to analyse the concrete consequences of this budgetary choice.

This will certainly have an impact on the available budget to directly support the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, which today accounts for almost 72% of the EMFF budget.

In its political position on the EMFF in March 2018, the CPMR had requested a strong budget for the EMFF. This is justified by the heavy challenges facing the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the post-2020 period.

These challenges lie in the continued implementation of the changes introduced by the Common Fisheries Policy reform in 2013, including the landing obligation, the impact of climate change, knowledge of the environment and of the resource and adequate control, the need to innovate in the face of international competition, the attractiveness of carriers, and the modernisation and renewal of fleets.

Added to this are the future consequences of Brexit, which will have a long-term impact on the sectors.

The other priorities proposed for the EMFF, around the blue economy and international governance, will also suffer from the inadequacy of the proposed budget. It is difficult to conceive that the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) can benefit from the means necessary to achieve its own objectives, and from the impetus it must play for the other policies of the European Union.

At a time when the potential of the maritime economy is exploding around the world, the proposals of the European Commission do not allow the EMFF to play a leading role in strengthening the European Union’s maritime strategy.

The CPMR will continue mobilised on these issues, to request an increase in the budget proposed by the EMFF, primarily around the issues of fisheries and aquaculture.

On 20 June 2018, the CPMR will be represented by Pierre Karleskind, Vice-President of the Brittany Region and President of the CPMR Fisheries and Aquaculture Group, during a first debate on the European Commission’s proposals, organised by the European Commission in Brussels.