COLLEGE MEETING: Brexit: European Commission implements “no deal” Contingency Action Plan in specific sectors
Given the continued uncertainty in the UK surrounding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, as agreed between the EU and the UK on 25 November 2018 – and last week’s call by the European Council (Article 50) to intensify preparedness work at all levels and for all outcomes – the European Commission has today started implementing its “no deal” Contingency Action Plan. This delivers on the Commission’s commitment to adopt all necessary “no deal” proposals by the end of the year, as outlined in its second preparedness Communication of 13 November 2018. Today’s package includes 14 measures in a limited number of areas where a no deal scenario would create major disruption for citizens and businesses in the EU27. These areas include financial services, air transport, customs, and climate policy, amongst others. For more information, read our press release here.
Fishing opportunities for 2019 in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea
This morning, EU ministers reached an agreement on fishing opportunities for 2019 in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea following negotiations at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 17-18 December. The negotiations were based on the Commission’s proposal for Total Allowable Catches (TAC), presented by Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, Karmenu Vella. This morning’s agreement will bring 59 catch limits (TACs) for stocks managed by the EU or by the EU and Norway together to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) levels in 2019, from only 5 stocks at Maximum Sustainable Yield in 2009. Nearly 99% of expected landings in the Baltic, North Sea and the Atlantic, subject to MSY-advice and managed exclusively by the EU, will be fished at sustainable levels. And, in order to put an end to the wasteful practice of discarding fish, as of 1 January 2019, the landing obligation will apply fully to all EU fishing fleets. This means that all catches of regulated commercial species taken on-board (including by-catch) are to be landed and counted against each Member States’ respective quotas. Furthermore, progress was made on protecting the eel stock which is still in a critical condition. Commissioner Vella welcomed the outcome: “Next year will be a milestone year for European fisheries. With collective efforts we have paved the way to a good transition to the full landing obligation which starts on 1 January 2019. While we are continuing to achieve progress towards our target of sustainable fishing by 2020, I would like to particularly thank our fishermen for their considerable efforts.” The fishing opportunities agreed today are worth over €5 billion, benefitting more than 50,000 fishermen. As the size of some key fish stocks is increasing – notably for seabass, northern haddock, Norway lobster in Skagerrak/Kattegat, Northern hake and Southern horse mackerel – so is the profitability of the fishing sector, with an estimated EUR 1.4 billion for 2018. You can find more information and read Commissioner Vella’s statement on the outcome here.
Commission authorises two genetically modified products for food and feed use
Today, the Commission authorised two Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), both for food and feed uses (MON 87427 × MON 89034 × 1507 × MON 88017 × 59122, and maize combining two, three or four of the single MON 87427, MON 89034, 1507, MON 88017 and 59122) and renewed the authorisation of one (maize NK603 x MON 810) also for food and feed. All of these Genetically Modified Organisms have gone through a comprehensive authorisation procedure, including a favourable scientific assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The authorisation decisions do not cover cultivation. All Member States had the right to express their view in the Standing Committee and subsequently the Appeal Committee, and the outcome is that the European Commission has the legal backing of the Member States to proceed with the authorisation. The authorisations are valid for 10 years, and any products produced from these Genetically Modified Organisms will be subject to the EU’s strict labelling and traceability rules. For more information on GMOs in the EU see here.
€405 billion invested in Europe’s real economy under the European Structural and Investment Funds
By October 2018, nearly two-thirds of the European Structural and Investment Funds’ budget for 2014-2020 had been committed to concrete projects. By end of 2017, 1 million businesses, including 74.000 start-ups, had received support to expand, innovate, launch new products and create jobs. Overall, 1.7 million investment projects have been selected for EU support across Europe, in addition to 2.7 million beneficiaries under rural development programmes. These are just some of the take-aways from a Commission report published today that shows the main results under the five European Structural and Investment Funds, halfway through the 2014-2020 EU budget period. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “This report shows that the European Structural and Investment Funds are helping us reach our EU-wide goals of growth and jobs in key areas such as research and innovation as well as transition towards low-carbon, circular economy. The progress made clearly shows the added value of structural funds for businesses and citizens alike.” Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “Cohesion policy is delivering. The figures speak for themselves: the implementation of the programmes is continuing at cruising speed, halfway into the 2014-2020 budget period. Besides these impressive numbers are the stories of millions of Europeans whose lives are changing for the better thanks to EU investments. This is a solid argument for a strong Cohesion Policy after 2020.” More information is available in the press release and in the factsheet online.
Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here