The Commission published its’ proposals for a new financial instrument for the period 2014 – 2020, the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund, in December 2011. The fund will help to deliver the ambitious objectives of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and will assist fishermen in the transition towards sustainable fishing, as well as coastal communities in the diversification of their economies.
At the October 2012 Fisheries Council, the Cyprus Presidency secured agreement on a “partial” general approach on the financial instrument the EMFF. Ireland will endeavour to achieve a general approach of the Council during its Presidency in the early part of 2013 with a view to securing a political agreement between the Council and EU Parliament by the end of the Irish Presidency. All the proposals are subject to negotiation and adoption through the co-decision process involving both the EU Fisheries Council and the EU Parliament.
In the context of the EMFF Proposal, the EU Commission set down indicative figures for the Fund, however, funding made available will only be finalised following determination of the EU budget which is being discussed at the Leaders Summit later this month.
The new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will be structured around 4 pillars, a) Smart, Green Fisheries, b) Smart, Green Aquaculture, c) Sustainable and Inclusive Territorial Development and d) Integrated Maritime Policy.
Of key importance to Ireland is a reasonable and fair share of the EMFF funding available. Ireland is supportive of the proposal in relation to the provision of funding for aquaculture, seafood processing, measures that support job creation and the rebuilding and conservation of stocks. Ireland welcomes the new elements proposed in the partial general approach including giving Member States the option of funding restructuring/decommissioning of the fishing fleet, engine replacement in limited circumstances and support for young fishermen.