Informal deal on European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund for the period 2021-2027
The Council recently (04 December 2020) concluded an informal deal with the European Parliament on how to disperse the €6.108 billion budget of the 2021-2027 European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) to sustain and modernise the sector. The new EMFAF will particularly support small-scale coastal fisheries and vessels up to 24 meters as well as promote aquaculture. The negotiated text also aims at simplifying processes to unlock funds while improving results.
Julia Klöckner, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture of Germany recently said:
Today's agreement is a strong sign of how we want our future on fisheries to be: secure, sustainable, innovative and crisis-proof. Through the next EMFAF, we are creating the safest and simplest possible conditions to help our fishermen and coastal communities to continue transitioning towards stable, profitable and environmentally-friendly value chains.
The negotiated text includes provisions to finance investments that will improve safety, energy efficiency and the quality of catches on EU's fishing vessels. For example, the fund can be used to finance the replacement or modernisation of engines of fishing vessels to increase energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. It will allow also promote generational renewal in the profession by supporting the first acquisition of vessels by young fishermen.
To contribute to the EU's food security and reduce dependence on third-countries for fishery products, the negotiators also confirmed the need to further support European aquaculture by encouraging investments in the sector and promoting the quality and added value of such products.
The new EMFAF also includes provisions to help respond to exceptional crises that cause market disruptions e.g. temporary storage measures or compensation for additional costs. Also, for the first time, the new EMFAF includes provisions on strengthening international ocean governance.
The new EMFAF is part of the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 and will co-finance projects (alongside national funds) by 70%.
The negotiated text still needs to go through legal and technical scrutiny before being endorsed by the Council's Committee of the Permanent Representatives (COREPER) and will then be submitted for final adoption by the Council and the European Parliament, as soon as possible.
The EMFAF is one of the five European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds which seek to promote a growth and job based recovery in Europe. So far the EMFAF has in particular: helped fishermen in the transition to sustainable fishing, supported coastal communities in diversifying their economies, financed projects that create new jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts, and supported sustainable aquaculture developments.
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