While the European Parliament has not yet managed to allocate the CFP reports to rapporteurs, detailed discussions have started in the Council’s working group on fisheries.
The working group, which consists of the fisheries councellors of the member states’ permanent representations in Brussels, started their CFP discussions early September.
Meeting twice a week, these government officials are going through the whole CFP reform proposal from beginning to end, paragraph by paragraph. It will take some time with a proposal this big. As on Tuesday, they had come to article 9 in the basic regulation.
A Polish official described this as a ‘mapmaking exercise’. Before the end of the year, the Polish presidency expects to compile an internal working document in which the member states’ preliminary positions are mapped out. This document is called a ‘Bible’ in the Council jargon.
What happens in the working group is that an official from the European Commission presents every article and explains the terminology and the Commission’s intentions with the proposal. The member states’ officials can then ask questions and express their views.
Officials emphasised that the views expressed at this stage are only preliminary, though, since internal discussions within each member state are still at an early stage. The purpose of the ‘Bible’ is to flesh out differences in the member state’s positions rather than to present a common Council position.