“The Cyprus Presidency will make every effort to ensure a swift conclusion of the CFP Reform work”

The Cypriot Presidency’s main priority on the CFP reform is to reach a partial general approach on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) at the October Council, writes Sofoclis Aletraris, Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment.

The second semester of 2012 is historical period in time and a great challenge for the Republic of Cyprus, as it holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time. This challenge is at the same time a great responsibility towards the citizens of the EU, especially during a period of economic crisis, who wish to see a new approach in promoting economic growth, creating jobs and ensuring long term stability in Europe. The Cyprus Presidency objectives for social cohesion, inclusive growth and sustainable development, apply to the Fisheries sector as well.

The Cyprus Presidency will make every effort to ensure that, independently from the progress on the discussions on the MFF, the work on the substance of Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) package reform will be at an advanced stage, so as to allow a swift conclusion of the work. I would like to give credit and thank the Danish presidency and particularly my predecessor, Ms. M. Gjerskov, Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, for the outstanding work and for achieving a general approach on the Basic CFP Regulation and the Common Market Organisation (CMO). This was quite an achievement by the Danish Presidency. Cyprus will continue from this point forward in order to achieve the objectives of the new CFP which are to ensure the recovery of fish stocks, bring an end to overfishing and create a sustainable and viable European Fisheries Sector. To this end our Presidency is ready to engage in discussions and consultations with the European Parliament so as to prepare the ground for finding solutions further down the line.

The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2014 – 2020, which is another basic element of the CFP package, should be a major financial instrument for the implementation of the CFP reform and it should provide the necessary tools that will help the European fisheries sector to tackle and resolve current problems, as well as face future challenges.

Our main priority on the CFP reform is to reach a partial general approach on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund at the October Council. In order to achieve this goal we might need to have an orientation debate in September on specific elements of the proposal that have been pointed out through the two orientation debates at Council during the Danish Presidency and in light of the Common approach agreement that has been achieved on the basic regulation and on the CMO proposals.

Another priority of the Cyprus Presidency is the adoption of the proposals that need to be adopted by the end of the year. Regarding the Total Allowance Catches (TACs) and Quotas for 2013, our Presidency will organize work in a way to ensure their timely adoption, on the basis of scientific advice and taking into consideration the social, economic and territorial impacts of the decisions to be taken.

The proposal on Technical measures in the Atlantic will also be a great challenge and along with the proposal on the 12NM access regime there will be a need for close cooperation between the Council, the Commission and The European Parliament to ensure their timely adoption before the end of the year. Furthermore, there is the proposal for a regulation on shark finning that we would also like to see being adopted during the second semester of 2012.

Additionally, the presidency intends to progress, where possible, the proposals for Multiannual Management Plans as well as proposals for alignment with the Lisbon treaty.

Lastly, the Presidency will seek to conclude the work on the renewal of several bilateral protocols of fisheries partnership agreements and to coordinate, in an efficient manner, the annual negotiations in the framework of International and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.

Sofoclis Aletraris
Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment, Cyprus
Cyprus Presidency website – www.cy2012.eu

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