On 2 May 2018, the European Commission published its proposals on the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework, marking the start of an important debate on the future of the EU Budget. The Commission is proposing an allocation to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for 2021-27 of €6.14 billion (current prices). This compares to €6.5 billion allocated to the EMFF for the 2014-20 period, a reduction of 5.54%. I am extremely disappointed that the Commission has proposed a cut of this nature to funding for implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy.
There are many significant challenges in the years ahead, particularly in the areas of sustainability of our stocks and preservation of the marine environment, of implementing the Landing Obligation, of enhancing our control and enforcement systems to ensure compliance with the rules of the CFP, and of ensuring we have the scientific data to inform our decision making. There are also many opportunities for Europe’s seafood industry. Our aquaculture and processing sectors need to continue on their recent growth path so that they can compete with the leading world players and can provide the added value seafood required to meet growing world demand. We need to continue to develop our coastal communities so that they have a thriving future. Indeed, there are also significant threats with our seafood sector facing into a period of significant market uncertainty against the background of Brexit. The present EMFF Programme is addressing all of these things and is making progress. It will be essential that this good work continues beyond 2020 and that means we must ensure that we at least maintain the present level of resources for the EMFF.
I will be working closely with my fellow marine Ministers in the months ahead as these proposals are debated and negotiated in the Council and Parliament, with the aim of protecting the future budget for the EMFF.