Thursday, 13 December 2012

Questions (17)

Seamus Kirk

Question:

17. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress made to date on the renegotiation of the Common Fisheries Policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55982/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the fisheries policy of the European Union which was first put in place in 1983 and has been subject to reviews every 10 years. The current CFP is under review and will not now be completed during the Cypriot Presidency and accordingly will fall for delivery during the Irish Presidency of the EU.

My overarching goal for the new CFP is for a sustainable, profitable and self reliant industry that protects and enhances the social and economic fabric of rural coastal communities dependent on the seafood sector, while balancing these objectives with the need to deliver a sustainable and eco centred fisheries landscape for future generations.

Ireland's priorities include maintaining the Hague preferences, long term management of stocks, reducing and eliminating discards where possible, rebuilding stocks to Maximum Sustainable Yield and a non-mandatory system of Transferable Fishing Concessions.

The new CFP will be agreed between the European Parliament and the EU Fisheries Council under the ordinary legislative process (co-decision).

The Council of Fisheries Ministers under the Danish Presidency reached a partial general approach on the Basic CFP Regulation and the Common Organisation of the Markets (CMO) at the June Fisheries Council (12 June). This is a significant, though informal, step in the process of working towards final agreement with the European Parliament under the ordinary legislative procedure. At the October Fisheries Council, a partial general approach of the Council on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) was secured.

The European Parliament has completed its first reading of the CMO proposal and is currently conducting its first reading of the basic CFP Regulation and the EMFF proposal. It is expected that these first readings will be completed in the early part of next year.

As it is now clear that adoption by 31 December 2012 will not happen, it is my intention to actively endeavour to reach agreement on the Reform package during the Irish presidency in the first half of 2013. I have recently had a series of meetings with Fisheries Ministers, Commissioner Damanaki and with key MEPs to lay the groundwork for achieving agreement.

One issue which has arisen with regard to progressing the reform is an inter-institutional one, and refers to the interpretation of Article 43 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union. Article 43.2 states that the EP and the Council in accordance with the ordinary procedure shall establish the provisions necessary for the pursuit of the objectives of the CAP and the CFP, while Article 43.3 states that the Council shall adopt measures on fixing prices, levies, aid and quantitative limitations and on the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities.

The Council has sole remit to set the annual TAC/Quota regulation under article 43.3, however Multi-annual plans which are a cornerstone of the CFP reform fit within the broad parameters of being a measure necessary for the pursuit of the objectives of the CFP so are to be introduced under Article 43.2 by co-decision by EP and Council. The issue is that the treaty wording did not foresee of the overlap between the Multi Annual Plans as usually designed and the TAC setting process leaving the roles of each of the institutions in question.

I will prioritise securing final agreement between the EU Fisheries Council and the EU Parliament on the CFP during the Irish Presidency during the first half of 2013.