Council and Parliament reach core issues in fisheries negotiations

Participants call fourth trilogue “quite constructive” as the European Parliament and Council progress on the core issues in the fisheries reform.

At their fourth trilogue meeting on 9 April, the European Parliament, Council and Commission talked about the key articles in the basic regulation, notably those that cover maximum sustainable yield (MSY), the discard ban and multiannual plans.

People from both Council and Parliament said they found the trilogue quite constructive.

“The institutions have started talking about the difficult issues now, which is a big step forward,” said a source participating at the meeting.

In the three previous trilogue meetings, the institutions had approached each other cautiously by dealing with the least contentious articles first.

At the meeting on 9 April, none of the institutions made any concrete concessions regarding MSY or the discard ban. Rather, the Council, Parliament and Commission presented the positions that are already known from the Parliament’s first reading position, the Council’s general approach and the Commission’s proposal.

Although the institutions have read each other’s documents before, it is still important to present them in the trilogue meetings as this gives each negotiator a chance to explain their position in more detail. “The trilogues are the first opportunities to talk face to face. It is a learning process in which the negotiators increasingly get to know and understand each other better,” one source said.

At the fourth trilogue, both the Council and the Commission emphasised that in their view the three institutions adhere to the same overarching principles on MSY and discards, although there are some differences. “This signals a willingness to reach an agreement,” a source said.

Although the trilogues have now touched upon most of the articles in the basic regulation, a lot of work still remains. A new trilogue meeting on 28 May has therefore been added.

> The positions of the three institutions can be compared in this three-column document.
> Dates and information on the trilogues.

Axel Naver

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