Pressure mounting on MEPs one week ahead of fish subsidy vote

On 23 October the European Parliament will vote on the fisheries subsidies for the next seven years, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

After a committee vote in July, which was described by environmental NGOs as a step back in the struggle against overfishing, all the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are now set to vote on the fisheries fund in plenary on 23 October.

Campaign against subsidies for new vessels
MEPs are this week being lobbied in particular regarding the proposal to subsidise the building of new fishing vessels (Article 32b in the report).

The rapporteur, Alain Cadec (France, EPP), has sent an email to MEPs, calling for support for vessel construction subsidies. A group of MEPs belonging to the cross-party campaign group Fish For the Future on Tuesday responded with a call to delete those subsidies.

Environmental NGOs are meeting MEPs in Brussels this week, and have launched an online petition asking MEPs to vote for money to fund data collection instead of new vessels.

Amendments & documents & voting time
The political groups will discuss their positions on the EMFF at their group meetings this week and next week.

The political groups have until noon on Thursday 17 October to table new amendments to the EMFF report. Sources say groups will try to change several articles in the regulation, including those on control and compliance, scrapping subsidies, allocation of budgetary resources to the different budget headings, youth employment and more.

Amendments will soon be available on the European Parliament’s séance en direct website, together with the report.

How to follow the vote
According to the draft agenda, MEPs will debate the fisheries fund on Tuesday evening, and the vote will take place some time between 12:00 and 14:00 on Wednesday 23 October.

Agenda and documents for the plenary session

The report and amendments can be found here

Live video from the plenary session

Follow the discussion with the hashtags #CFPreform, #EMFF and #OCT23 on Twitter

Next: negotiations with Council
After the Parliament adopts its position, there will be negotiations with the Council during the next few months. The Council finalised its position on the EMFF earlier this year. Member states called for more money for outermost regions, less money for data collection, and want to make it easier for member states to receive EU funding even if they break the rules of the CFP.

Further reading
A flood of studies urge MEPs to ban destructive subsidies (08.07.2013)

A recent study by nef concluded: For every €1 invested in data collection, control and enforcement, there is a potential return of €10. What’s more, industry stakeholders support the idea of communal measures, with some calling for better coordination of data collection. (10.10.2013)

A European Parliament study on Global Fisheries Subsidies will be presented in the fisheries committee in the European Parliament on Thursday 17 October.

Recently, a European Parliament study on fuel subsidies showed that the forgone revenue by governments in the last decade because of tax exemptions on fuel for fishing vessels (for the 22 countries in the study) was estimated at €1.05 billion.

Axel Naver

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