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A fisherman pulling up the fishing nets. (Photo: Stock File)

Brussels proposes to grant over EUR 6.14b to 'simpler and more flexible' EMFF

EUROPEAN UNION
Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 23:10 (GMT + 9)

For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission (EC) is proposing EUR 6.14 billion under a simpler, more flexible fund for European fisheries and the maritime economy.

The EC ensures that new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will continue to support the European fisheries sector towards more sustainable fishing practices, with a particular focus on supporting small-scale fishermen.

It will also help unleash the growth potential of a sustainable blue economy towards a more prosperous future for coastal communities.

For the first time, it will contribute to strengthening international ocean governance for safer, cleaner, more secure, and sustainably managed seas and oceans.

Finally, the Commission is reinforcing the environmental impact of the Fund with a focus on protecting marine ecosystems and an expected contribution of 30 per cent of its budget to climate change mitigation and adaptation, in line with the commitments agreed under the Paris Agreement.

"Healthy, well-managed oceans are a pre-condition for long-term investments and job creation in fisheries and the broader blue economy. As a global ocean actor and the world's fifth largest producer of seafood, the European Union has a strong responsibility to protect, conserve and sustainably use the oceans and their resources,” stated Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.

The EC highlights that a particular focus of the Fund will be to support small-scale coastal fishermen, with vessels below 12 metres, which represent half of European employment in the fishing sector.

Since the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2014, progress has been made in bringing fish stocks back to healthy levels, in increasing the profitability of the EU's fishing industry, and in conserving marine ecosystems. The new Fund will continue to support these socio-economic and environmental objectives.

As regards the maritime economy, the Commission proposes to strengthen its support compared to the 2014-2020 period. This is a high-potential economic sector whose worldwide output is estimated at EU 1.3 trillion today and could more than double by 2030.

The maritime fund will enable investment in new maritime markets, technologies and services such as ocean energy and marine biotechnology. Coastal communities will receive more and broader support to set up local partnerships and technology transfers in all blue economy sectors, including aquaculture and coastal tourism.

In the context of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Union has also committed at international level to make seas and oceans safer, more secure, cleaner and more sustainably managed.

The new EMFF will support these commitments for better international ocean governance. It will, among others, also provide the necessary funding to improve maritime surveillance, security and coastguard cooperation.

To ensure that the fund is both efficient and effective, it comprises several new features, such as:

  • Simplification and a wider choice for Member States, who will now be able to target support to their strategic priorities, instead of having to choose from a ‘menu' of eligible actions.
  • Better alignment with other European Union funds. Rules applying to all structural and investment funds are set out in a Common Provisions Regulation.
  • A better targeting of support to the achievement of the Common Fisheries Policy.

According to the EC, a swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure that EU funds start delivering results on the ground as soon as possible.

The Commission states that a swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure that EU funds start delivering results on the ground as soon as possible.

An agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one, and would ensure predictability and continuity of funding to the benefit of all.

The new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund is part of the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027, the new EU long-term budget that enters into force on January 1, 2021.
 
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