As of 1 January 2019, Romania took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. On 23 January 2019, the Fisheries Committee held a broad exchange of views with Minister Petre Daea, Romanian Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, on the priorities of the Romanian Presidency in the area of fisheries.
In his speech, Minister Daea recognised that the Romania’s Presidency mandate will be influenced by the current political context: the approaching of the European elections in May 2019. Holding the Presidency at the same time as the end of the European Parliament's 8th term, urges the Presidency to accelerate negotiations and try to wrap up most of the pending legislative files.
“Our enemy is time” declared the Minister, yet he confirms the Presidency commitment to reach an agreement on the following files.
● The Multiannual plan for fish stocks in the Western Waters, Minister Daea is confident that it will be adopted before the end of the Parliament’s mandate.
● The Multiannual plan for the fisheries exploiting demersal stocks in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The Council and the European Parliament will try to reach an agreement.
● The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The Minister informed that one of the troublesome issues under the present EMFF is the low level of absorption of funding, despite Member States have being trying to speed it up. Solving the red tape issues and try to find an agreement within the Council to ensure continuity in the EMFF post 2020 will be a priority for the Presidency.
● The Control Regulation. Mr Daea stressed the importance of modernising the fisheries controls and mentioned that the file has been examined on the technical level and that the Council wants to advance as quickly as possible”.
● The Technical Measures Regulation. The proposal is a major and sensitive file, most notably because of the contentious element of electric pulse fishing. The presidency is examining the compromise proposal and is making efforts to reach a positive conclusion on the file before the end of the Parliament’s term.
● Brexit: The “elephant in the room” of this Presidency will be, of course, Brexit. The outcome is anything but certain. What is certain is that the possible scenario of a no-deal will have serious consequences for the EU fishing industry. Hence, there is no doubt that the Romania Presidency will have to devote a lot of efforts to the United Kingdom's (eventual) departure from the European Union.
● Cormorants: Minister Daea concluded his intervention by raising an issue dear to the Romanian Government: the cormorants’ negative impact on the aquatic ecosystem. In this respect, Mr Daea called on the Commission to tackle this urgent matter.
The programme of the Romania Presidency is available here
Note by EAA
: The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is revised or reformed every ten year. Informally we have been told that the drafting process won’t start before second half of this year at the earliest. The first step is always a brief CFP reform policy ‘Green Paper’.