PositionEuropean Maritime and Fisheries Fund

After the traditional presentation of the Lithuanian Presidency's priorities, the member states' fisheries ministers, meeting in Brussels on 15 July, will tackle the session's piece de resistance, the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)(1), the third and last component of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Discussions may last late into the night, since Vilnius is intent on seeing the Council adopt a general approach.


The ministers will pick up their discussions on this issue where they left off under the Cyprus Presidency back in October 2012. In the absence of a multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020, Dublin preferred to focus on reform of the general regulation and on common organisation of the market. It was right to do so, since the deals worked out in May on these two aspects and on the CFP paved the way for Vilnius to concentrate on the EMFF.

The Council adopted a partial general approach on the EMFF on 24 October 2012. It agreed to maintain modernisation aid, despite opposition by Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the UK and the Netherlands. On top of support for vessel engines (energy efficiency, reduction of pollution), improved working and safety conditions on vessels, and the purchase of more selective gear, the Council added fleet reduction (scrapping) aid, abolished by the Commission, but the duration of which was extended until 2017, and aid for temporary cessation of activity. These types of measures are grouped into a single category capped at 15% (or 6 million) of the total fund allocation per member state. It would be up to member states to set priorities in distributing these funds. The Council also reintroduced aid to encourage young people to take up the activity of fishing or fish farming and added special support for the outermost regions by making them eligible for the scheme compensating for the additional costs on fishermen and fish farmers due to their remote location. Addressing the concerns of several countries, particularly land-locked states, the agreement includes a number of measures in...

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