Brussels Daily
08 Jan 2019


Brussels Daily

Commission lifts “yellow card” from Thailand for its actions against illegal fishing

The European Commission delists Thailand from the group of “warned countries” as recognition of its progress in tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Today the Commission acknowledges that Thailand has successfully addressed the shortcomings in its fisheries legal and administrative systems. European Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing damages global fish stocks but it also hurts the people living from the sea, especially those already vulnerable to poverty. Fighting illegal fishing is therefore a priority for the EU. I am excited that today we have a new committed partner in this fight.” The global value of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is estimated at 10-20 billion euros per year. The so-called “yellow card” for Thailand has been in place since April 2015 – a warning from the EU that the country at the time was not sufficiently tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Thailand plays a central role in the international supply chain for fisheries products. Since the yellow card was issued, the Commission and Thailand have engaged in a constructive process of cooperation and dialogue. This has resulted in a major upgrade of the Thai fisheries governance in accordance with the international commitments of the country. Thailand has amended its fisheries legal framework in line with international law of the sea instruments. It has reinforced compliance with its obligations as a flag, port, coastal and market State, strengthened the mechanisms of control of the national fishing fleet and enhanced its monitoring, control and surveillance systems. Today’s decision reverses the first step of a process that could have led to a complete import ban of marine fisheries products into the EU. More information is available in the press release and MEMO. (For more information: Enrico Brivio – Tel.: + 32 229 56172; Daniela Stoycheva – Tel.: +32 229 53664)

State aid: Commission approves a €320 million scheme to support biomass energy installations close to forests at risk of fires in Portugal 

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a Portuguese scheme to support biomass energy installations located close to forest areas regarded as “critical”, due to the risk of fires. The new installations will produce both electricity and combined heat and power (cogeneration). The measure aims to incentivise forest owners to clean the forests at risk by using the forest residues to produce biomass energy. This will help preventing future forest fires in Portugal. The aid will be provided in the form of a feed-in premium (a top-up payment over the market price) to the selected installations for every unit of electricity produced, as well as an environmental tariff premium (called PDIF) linked to the use of biomass from Portuguese forests in the “critical areas”. The scheme will run for 15 years and have a budget of around €320 million and will be funded via an increase in energy tariffs. The Commission concluded that the measure meets the requirements of the 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy, as it will help Portugal increase the share of electricity produced from renewable sources to meet its climate targets, in line with the environmental objectives of the EU, without unduly distorting competition. The Commission also found that measure is in line with the 2014-2020 Agricultural Guidelines, applicable to the environmental component of the premium (the PDIF). More information will be available on the Commission competition website in the public case register under the case number SA.48881, once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti – Tel.: +32 229 55344)


Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here

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