The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Region (CPMR) is alarmed by the European Commission’s proposal to make a drastic cut of 15%* to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which fails to consider the challenges facing the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the post-2020 period.

The CPMR says the Commission’s proposals are insufficient to allow for a stronger partnership with regions to improve the effectiveness of European action.

While the CPMR welcomes the decision to maintain the EMFF as a specific fund with a main focus on fisheries and aquaculture, along with the continued support for small-scale fisheries and specific measures for outermost regions, it is concerned there is no recognition of the role of regions in Operational Programmes.

The CPMR is worried that the list of the EMFF’s ineligible measures includes the construction of new auction halls, and the construction and acquisition of fishing vessels, excepted for small-scale fisheries. It is also concerned that it will be compulsory to use financial instruments to support investments in aquaculture and in the processing of products.

Pierre Karleskind, Vice-President for Fisheries and Ports of the Brittany Region, and President of the CPMR’s Fisheries Intergroup, said: “There are positives in the Commission’s proposals for the post-2020 EMFF, such as the simplification, the strengthening of specific measures for outermost regions, support for Community Led local development and sustainable blue growth. However, they have failed to improve the efficiency of the fund via stronger partnership with regions.”

In particular, the CPMR says it is necessary to:

  • Introduce the possibility to define operational programs at regional level in Member-States that so wish. The proposed regulation only provides for national operational programs.
  • Further extend shared management. The proposed regulation provides for a 16% decrease of the EMFF budget in shared management, and an increase of 11% for direct management, which keeps the management of the fund from the reality of territories.
  • Revise the proposal for managing authorities to only use financial instruments to support aquaculture and processing of products. Managing authorities must be able to determine the appropriate forms of support with socio-economic actors.
  • Introduce financing for the acquisition of vessels, to support the development of young fishermen, and financing for the modernisation or replacement of engines. This will support efforts to combat climate change and protect the safety of fishermen without increasing the fleets’ fishing capacity.

George Alexakis, Vice-Governor of Crete, and CPMR Vice-President in charge of Maritime Affairs, said: “The European Parliament and the Council now need to take action to give more responsibilities to Member States and regions in the management of the fund. Shared management should be extended, and it should be possible to adopt regional operational programmes.”

* Note:

This figure has been obtained by comparing the budget proposed by the European Commission for the post-2020 EMFF in 2018 prices with the EMFF budget for the period 2014-2020 in constant prices, i.e. including inflation. As the European Commission has not published the 2014-2020 budget in 2018 prices, this calculation is the most accurate option. For more details on this point, please consult the CPMR’s note on the European Commission’s proposal for the post-2020 Cohesion policy budget.