16 Dec 2015
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 16 DECEMBERBrussels Daily
Ministers agree on fishing catch limits for 2016
EU ministers have reached an agreement on fishing opportunities for 2016 in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea, following discussions at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 14 and 15 December. Karmenu Vella, the EU’s Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, had presented the Commission’s proposals to the Council and participated in the negotiations. Reacting to the outcome of the Council, Commissioner Vella said: “Our responsibility to our citizens and to the sector is to deliver on the objectives and ambitions of the Common Fisheries Policy. One of the fundamental objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy is that stocks are fished at a level that can keep them at maximum sustainable yield. We cannot jeopardise the longer term sustainability for the shorter term considerations. With this said, I am happy to announce that we have made good progress together with the Member States.” The Commission’s goal, and one of the pillars of the EU’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy(CFP), is to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels by 2020 at the latest. Fishing at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) levels allows the fishing industry to take the highest amount of fish from the sea while keeping fish stocks healthy. Europe started in 2009 with only 5 Total Allowable Catches of stocks to MSY. Yesterday’s agreement will bring 36 stocks to MSY in the North Sea, the Atlantic and the Baltic Sea and sets the foundation so that all stocks are fished at sustainable levels in the next two years. The CFP also aims to eliminate the wasteful practice of discards in EU fisheries by gradually introducing an obligation to land all catches. The agreement therefore includes so-called quota “top-ups” for some fisheries that will come under the landing obligation in 2016. Full remarks by Commissioner Vella at press conference can be found here.
Making progress on better regulation: Commission endorses better law-making deal and appoints REFIT Platform members
On 15 December, the Commission endorsed a new Inter-institutional Agreement (IIA) on Better Law-Making with the European Parliament and Council to improve the quality and the results of European legislation. The agreement will enter into force once approved by all three institutions. The Commission has also approved today the appointment of the 18 members of the stakeholder group of the new REFIT Platform, an important tool to identify how existing laws might be improved with the help of those that have to comply with and benefit from them every day. These are important steps in implementing the Better Regulation for Better Results Communication that the Commission adopted in May 2015. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “The Commission is committed to change how we do business in Brussels, and these are two important steps. The three institutions are agreeing to focus their energy on joint priorities where European action is clearly needed, and to give just as much attention to reviewing and improving existing rules. The REFIT Platform’s expertise will also help us to have an open, transparent and inclusive dialogue on how to best remove any unnecessary burdens and improve the quality of our laws.” A press release and memo are available.
EU welcomes Liberia to the World Trade Organisation at the 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi
The European Commission welcomes the decision of the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to approve the accession of Liberia to the WTO. Once it will have ratified this decision, Liberia will become the 163rd Member of the WTO. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who is present at the 10th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Nairobi this week greeted the news saying: “The EU is very pleased to welcome Liberia – our partner in the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific group – as a new member of the WTO. This is a clear and tangible demonstration of our joint commitment to integrate the world’s least developed countries into the global trading system.” More background information on Liberia’s accession is available here. In her statement at the plenary of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference, Commissioner Malmström reminded that the EU has worked hard to make this conference a success and that a substantially different approach is needed if the WTO is to regain the central role it deserves in trade negotiations: “For the last two years we have worked intensively to set the stage for this Ministerial Conference. The European Union, as a strong and dedicated supporter of the multilateral system, is clearly worried by this situation. We have to deliver for the world’s Least Developed Countries. The time has come to conclude this deal and there is no better place than Nairobi to do it.” The full speech as well as photo and video footage of Commissioner Malmström at the plenary is available online.
- EUROSTAT: Euro area international trade in goods surplus €24.1 billion
- Record EU humanitarian budget adopted for 2016
- Commission confirms and welcomes the participation of Ireland in the EU relocation scheme
- Agreement on Commission’s EU data protection reform will boost Digital Single Market
|Read today’s edition in full: Daily News 16 – 12 – 2015|