At its meeting in Donegal (Ireland) on 13 June, the CPMR Political Bureau examined the outcome of ongoing EMFF negotiations in the presence of Pierre Karleskind, new Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the CPMR Fisheries working group in his capacity as Brittany Region’s Vice-president in charge of the sea and infrastructure.

The discussions on Fisheries had been prepared based on a meeting of the CPMR’s Fisheries group held on 28 May in Brussels, attended by Claire Hugues, Pays de la Loire Regional Councillor and Chair of the CPMR Atlantic Arc Commission’s Fisheries group. This meeting also featured Elisa Roller, Head of Unit of DG MARE as well as the EMFF advisers from the Permanent Representations of Spain, Germany and France.

 At this stage, the current EMFF negotiations are reasonably in line with the CPMR’s proposals. The CPMR will nonetheless continue its advocacy work, especially on one point in the Council’s position that is so far negative concerning the possibility for Member States to create EMFF operational programmes at regional level if they so wish.

The European Parliament and Council adopted a position on the post-2020 EMFF at first reading on 4 April and 18 June respectively. If the procedure continues, there could be a final agreement on the EMFF between Member States and the European Parliament during the Finnish Presidency of the EU.

This schedule could be disrupted if the new European Parliament were to reconsider the position adopted on 4 April and develop a new one. Mr Gabriel Mato, the EP’s rapporteur on the EMFF up to the European elections, will only be a Member of the European Parliament if additional seats are allocated to Spain following Brexit.

The CPMR had already expressed satisfaction with a certain number of points in the European Commission’s proposals, mainly on:

  • maintaining a specific fund to finance fisheries and aquaculture as a priority
  • simplification of the EMFF
  • strengthening measures for the outermost regions
  • maintaining Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) and providing support for sustainable blue growth

Several other points required improvements. At this stage, the positions of the EP and the Council on these are positive with regard to:

  • The share allocated to shared management: the draft regulation foresees a 16% decrease in the EMFF budget under shared management, and an 11% increase in direct management. On this point, the EP wants an increase in the portion of the EMFF budget under shared management.
  • The European Commission’s proposed obligation to use financial instruments to support aquaculture and the processing of fisheries and aquaculture products: the EP and the Council also wish to allow the use subsidies in these areas.
  • The amount attributed to the EMFF budget, which the CPMR wishes to see increased: the EP wants to raise the EMFF budget to 6.867 billion in constant 2018 prices, against 6.1 billion proposed by the European Commission. The Council’s position will depend on the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework.
  • The list of ineligible measures compared to the European Commission’s proposal, which the CPMR wants to see reduced: the EP’s position is positive because it opens up the possibility of financing:
    • The acquisition of vessels for small-scale coastal fishing
    • The replacement and modernisation of main or auxiliary engines, not resulting in an increase in power in kW.
    • The construction of new small ports and landing sites for small ports, as well as auctions
  • A role for regions in operational programmes, by introducing the possibility – in those Member States that so wish- to create operational programmes at regional level.

The EP has included this possibility in its position, unlike the Council. The CPMR will therefore continue lobbying, especially on this point, in view of the trilogues.