Breakdown in negotiations on fisheries fund

Negotiations on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) broke down in the evening of Thursday 19 December, following intense negotiations between Parliament, Council and the Commission.

The negotiations were almost concluded and a deal on the EMFF was expected to be announced Friday morning. Instead, the European Parliament rapporteur Alain Cadec (EPP, FR) held a press conference Friday morning to explain why the Parliament delegation walked out of the negotiations.

Here is what Parliament sources say happened:

Council and Parliament on Thursday morning agreed on one of the final remaining issues: the allocation of money for different kinds of expenditure. Council and Parliament are reported to have agreed on the following allocation:

1. sustainable development of fisheries: €4.385 million
2. control of fisheries activities: €600 million
3. data collection: €550 million
4. help for ultra-peripheral regions: €192 million
5. storage: €45 million
6. integrated maritime policy under shared management: €77 million
7. A reduction of resources for “direct management” (money controlled by the Commission, as opposed to resources shared with the member states)

When the negotiators reconvened in the afternoon, the Commission said they could not agree to this budget allocation. Because the Commission was negative, the Council would need to adopt the text unanimously. The Council presidency then said that they would not be able to achieve unanimity unless the European Parliament gave in on a number of points that had already been agreed.

The Parliament negotiation team considered this a breach of agreement and found the proposal unacceptable. After giving the Commission an hour to reconsider, the parliament’s rapporteur and shadow rapporteurs decided to walk out of the negotiations.

Alain Cadec said at a press conference that the proposal of the Commission and Council was more than a provocation. “Accepting their proposal would have been a humiliation,” Alain Cadec said. He continued:

“I ask the Commissioner Maria Damanaki to come back to the negotiations in January. If she then accepts the budgetary allocations agreed by Council and Parliament, particularly regarding data collection and control measures, we can continue negotiations. If she does not, I propose that the Parliament vote on the agreement as a resolution in March.”

At the press conference, both Alain Cadec and the Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur said that ahead of the European Elections 2014, it is important for citizens to know that that their votes matter and that the elected MEPs have influence. “It is time that political Europe asserts itself vis-à-vis the Europe of technocrats,” said Alain Cadec

More information:
Alain Cadec press conference
European Parliament press release
Raül Romeva (Greens/EFA, ES) blogs about the negotiation breakdown
Lithuanian presidency press release

Axel Naver

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