Moving to the adopt last week’s proposal from the Commission, the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee has requested urgent procedure to swiftly amend the European Fisheries and Maritime Fund (EMFF), to better support the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in face of the “public health crises” being wrought by coronavirus.
The Fisheries Committee agreed to speed up the legislative process by referring the proposal to be adopted directly by plenary via the “urgent procedure” (defined under Rule 163), in a joint request with the Regional Development Committee. This, it is hoped, will help provide a quick response to mitigate the negative consequences of the pandemic on the fisheries industry.
The specific amendments to the EMFF would add “public health crises” to the list of circumstances under which the fund may support mutual funds and stock insurance to safeguard the income of fishermen and aquaculture farmers affected, as per the Commission’s proposed Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative announced last week.
EP Fisheries Chair, Pierre Karleskind (Renew Europe, FR) said: “With the agreement of the political groups in the Committee on Fisheries, I asked President Sassoli to deal with this important file under urgent procedure.
“This unprecedented crisis requires swift action. Together with the representatives of the groups, we will carry on working to put in place rapid and effective measures to help the aquaculture and fisheries sectors impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.”
The move comes following a legislative proposal to amend the Common Provisions Regulation, the European Regional Development Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund regulations published on 13 March, whereby the Commission proposed to relinquish its obligation this year to request that pre-financing for several structural funds be returned, including the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
Speaking to The Skipper a spokeswoman for the Commission said, “The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative was proposed last week by the Commission to make sure that Member States can make best use of EU budget money to address the corona crisis related impacts.
“All possible means—within the existing EU budget—will be used to support EU countries in their handling of this unprecedented situation.”
The spokeswoman went on to say, “These measures proposed last Friday were a first step. We hope that the co-legislators (European Parliament and Council) can adopt them quickly.”
“We are continuing to assess the situation, and are in touch with the sector, the MS and the EP to discuss if additional measures are necessary and what else could be done to support the sector.”
Image courtesy of NIFA/NIFO taken by Kieran Healy, Crosshaven.