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Three critical issues in EU-UK relations

08-06-2020

Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020, the EU and the UK launched negotiations on a new partnership agreement, to come into effect at the end of the transition period, scheduled for 31 December 2020. The negotiations are intended to address nearly all the domains covered in the Political Declaration negotiated by both parties alongside the Withdrawal Agreement, including trade and economics, fisheries, thematic cooperation, and internal ...

Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) on 1 February 2020, the EU and the UK launched negotiations on a new partnership agreement, to come into effect at the end of the transition period, scheduled for 31 December 2020. The negotiations are intended to address nearly all the domains covered in the Political Declaration negotiated by both parties alongside the Withdrawal Agreement, including trade and economics, fisheries, thematic cooperation, and internal and external security. As far as negotiations on the future economic relationship are concerned, while the parties agree in principle on an exceptional zero-tariff and zero-quota comprehensive and balanced free trade agreement (FTA) aiming for as 'frictionless' trade as possible, they still disagree on major aspects of the economic partnership, especially fisheries and level playing-field (LPF) commitments. The EU wants the future agreement in the fisheries domain to retain the status quo as far as possible, including reciprocal access to waters in return for access to markets and quota-shares that are based on historical fishing patterns. The EU also insists that an effective LPF would ensure fair competition. After the third round of talks, which took place in May 2020, the UK's chief negotiator, David Frost, said that the EU proposal on fisheries was ‘simply not realistic’, and it was unacceptable that the LPF binds the UK to EU law or standards; if need be, the UK would aim for a less ambitious FTA. The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that negotiating an FTA providing for tariffs would be far more time-consuming, and the EU would still demand the same LPF commitments because 'open and fair competition is not a "nice-to-have", it is a "must-have" '. Following the fourth round of negotiations, from 2 to 5 June, the positions therefore still seemed irreconcilable. However, the long stand-off in the earlier negotiations on UK withdrawal had seemed equally irreconcilable before the final agreement was reached and then ratified. One area in which the two sides did manage to agree in those negotiations is the financial settlement included in the Withdrawal Agreement. While that settlement is now being implemented, it had initially been seen as one of the more difficult areas of the withdrawal negotiations.

World Oceans Day 2020

05-06-2020

Every year, 8 June marks World Oceans Day, celebrated since 1992 and officially designated by the United Nations in 2008. Its aim is to raise global awareness of the crucial role oceans play in sustaining life on earth and our duty to protect its rich marine biodiversity and to use its resources sustainably. This year's specific theme, 'Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean', highlights the need for innovative solutions to deal with the challenges oceans are facing. World Oceans Day also offers an opportunity ...

Every year, 8 June marks World Oceans Day, celebrated since 1992 and officially designated by the United Nations in 2008. Its aim is to raise global awareness of the crucial role oceans play in sustaining life on earth and our duty to protect its rich marine biodiversity and to use its resources sustainably. This year's specific theme, 'Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean', highlights the need for innovative solutions to deal with the challenges oceans are facing. World Oceans Day also offers an opportunity to take stock of progress, globally and in the EU.

Support for the fishing and aquaculture sectors in the coronavirus crisis

15-04-2020

Measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, such as the closure of restaurants, open-air markets and limits on travel and tourism have had a strong impact on the food supply chain. Fisheries and aquaculture are among the sectors most immediately hit by the crisis. In order to alleviate the socio-economic impact, several measures have been or are in the process of being adopted by the EU. A number of emergency measures will help the fisheries and aquaculture sector, including increased ...

Measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, such as the closure of restaurants, open-air markets and limits on travel and tourism have had a strong impact on the food supply chain. Fisheries and aquaculture are among the sectors most immediately hit by the crisis. In order to alleviate the socio-economic impact, several measures have been or are in the process of being adopted by the EU. A number of emergency measures will help the fisheries and aquaculture sector, including increased possibilities for State aid and the introduction of support measures through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

The blue economy: Overview and EU policy framework

30-01-2020

The blue economy encompasses all economic activities relating to oceans and seas. It employs over 4 million people in the EU and its landscape is evolving rapidly. Some traditional sectors are in decline while other sectors, both established and emerging, are showing strong potential for growth and innovation. This paper focuses on the EU policy framework and the various EU initiatives and actions linked to the blue economy. It provides an overview of the cross-cutting 'key enablers' and a sector ...

The blue economy encompasses all economic activities relating to oceans and seas. It employs over 4 million people in the EU and its landscape is evolving rapidly. Some traditional sectors are in decline while other sectors, both established and emerging, are showing strong potential for growth and innovation. This paper focuses on the EU policy framework and the various EU initiatives and actions linked to the blue economy. It provides an overview of the cross-cutting 'key enablers' and a sector by sector analysis. The international dimension or the position of the European Parliament is highlighted where relevant.

Support for fishermen affected by the eastern Baltic cod closure

17-01-2020

Eastern Baltic cod has long supported the livelihoods of many Baltic fishermen, but stocks of this valuable fish have been declining sharply in recent years. Every year since 2014, total allowable catches have been reduced accordingly. Recent scientific advice, published in May 2019, reinforced concerns regarding eastern Baltic cod, showing an even steeper decline and estimating the stock to be below safe biological limits for the past two years. Scientists point to high natural mortality resulting ...

Eastern Baltic cod has long supported the livelihoods of many Baltic fishermen, but stocks of this valuable fish have been declining sharply in recent years. Every year since 2014, total allowable catches have been reduced accordingly. Recent scientific advice, published in May 2019, reinforced concerns regarding eastern Baltic cod, showing an even steeper decline and estimating the stock to be below safe biological limits for the past two years. Scientists point to high natural mortality resulting from various environmental pressures, including a lack of salinity, little oxygen, pollution, high water temperatures and parasite infestation. On 22 July 2019, as an emergency measure, the Commission imposed an immediate closure of the fishery for six months, with the exception of a limited amount arising from the unavoidable by-catch. Subsequently, fishing opportunities for 2020 were cut by 92 %. As recovery of the stock is not expected before 2024, on 31 October 2019 the Commission issued a proposal amending the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Regulation in order to allow support for permanent cessation and introducing parallel changes to the Baltic multiannual plan by setting capacity limits for the fishing segments concerned and by including additional control and data collection measures.

Ocean governance and blue growth: Challenges, opportunities and policy responses

04-11-2019

Oceans cover more than two thirds of the earth and are a vital element of life on our planet. Not only are they a primary source of food, they are also central to the carbon cycle; they regulate the climate and produce most of the oxygen in the air we breathe. They also play an important socio-economic role. The 'blue economy', covering traditional sectors such as fisheries, extraction of oil and gas, maritime transport and coastal tourism, as well as new, fast-growing industries such as offshore ...

Oceans cover more than two thirds of the earth and are a vital element of life on our planet. Not only are they a primary source of food, they are also central to the carbon cycle; they regulate the climate and produce most of the oxygen in the air we breathe. They also play an important socio-economic role. The 'blue economy', covering traditional sectors such as fisheries, extraction of oil and gas, maritime transport and coastal tourism, as well as new, fast-growing industries such as offshore wind, ocean energy and blue biotechnology, shows great potential for further economic growth, employment creation and innovation. At the same time, oceans face pressures, mainly associated with the over-exploitation of resources, pollution and the effects of climate change. In recent years, ocean pollution from plastics has received more attention from the public and has been high on policy-makers' agendas. At global level, the European Union is an active player in protecting oceans and shaping ocean governance. It has made progress by taking measures in a series of areas: maritime security, marine pollution, sustainable blue economy, climate change, marine protection, and sustainable fisheries; by working towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda sustainable development goal on oceans; and by taking part in negotiations on a new international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. In encouraging the blue economy, the EU also recognises the environmental responsibilities that go along with it. Healthy, clean oceans guarantee the long-term capacity to sustain such economic activities, while a natural decline threatens the ecosystem of the planet as a whole and ultimately, the well-being of our societies. The conservation of marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy, EU action under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the establishment of marine protected areas are key EU policies when it comes to protecting the marine environment. They are complemented by recent environmental legislation such as the Directive on single-use plastics to reduce marine litter. This briefing updates an earlier edition published for the High-level conference on oceans held by the European Parliament on 19 March 2019.

Snapshot of the EU regions with a view to selected Europe 2020 targets

03-10-2019

In 2014-2020, €461 billion from the EU budget is allocated to EU regions for investments in support of the strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (Europe 2020). The NUTS 2 classification (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) divides EU territory into 281 regions with population thresholds between 800 000 and 3 000 000. It is used for the purpose of collection and harmonisation of statistics and for socio-economic analysis. Furthermore, it is used for allocating European ...

In 2014-2020, €461 billion from the EU budget is allocated to EU regions for investments in support of the strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (Europe 2020). The NUTS 2 classification (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) divides EU territory into 281 regions with population thresholds between 800 000 and 3 000 000. It is used for the purpose of collection and harmonisation of statistics and for socio-economic analysis. Furthermore, it is used for allocating European structural and investment funds (ESIF) to EU regions. This paper provides statistics for the NUTS 2 regions with a focus on selected Europe 2020 targets, firstly looking at GDP and unemployment for the years 2007 and 2017/18. It shows the employment situation of the younger generation in 2018. It then considers employment, poverty and education in the light of selected Europe 2020 targets, and internet usage in view of the EU’s digital agenda. Finally, it shows the ESIF allocation for the 2014-2020 period and EU payments up to June 2019.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2021-2027

22-05-2019

The European Commission has proposed a new regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) as part of the next EU budget framework for the 2021-2027 period. The European Parliament established its first-reading position on the proposal on 4 April 2019. The new fund will continue to support the EU common fisheries policy and the Union's maritime policy. The proposal aims to simplify the delivery of the fund compared to the very complex legal framework in use for the current EMFF. It ...

The European Commission has proposed a new regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) as part of the next EU budget framework for the 2021-2027 period. The European Parliament established its first-reading position on the proposal on 4 April 2019. The new fund will continue to support the EU common fisheries policy and the Union's maritime policy. The proposal aims to simplify the delivery of the fund compared to the very complex legal framework in use for the current EMFF. It therefore presents a more flexible architecture: this would allow Member States to use the funds where they see the greatest need, instead of being bound to a list of pre-defined measures and eligibility rules. Small-scale coastal fisheries and outermost regions would receive greater preferential treatment. It further proposes increased support for international ocean governance and stronger synergies with other EU policies. The fund is also expected to contribute to the development of the blue economy and support the EU's climate objectives. Negotiations with the Council on the proposal are expected to start in the new term. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Mediterranean fisheries management measures

20-03-2019

As a contracting party to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the European Union is bound to adopt its conservation and management measures in EU law, so that they become applicable to EU fishing vessels. The European Parliament is expected to vote on a Commission proposal on the transposition of new GFCM measures, that go beyond the existing regulations, during the March II plenary session.

As a contracting party to the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the European Union is bound to adopt its conservation and management measures in EU law, so that they become applicable to EU fishing vessels. The European Parliament is expected to vote on a Commission proposal on the transposition of new GFCM measures, that go beyond the existing regulations, during the March II plenary session.

EU-Côte d'Ivoire fisheries agreement

06-02-2019

The European Parliament's consent is required for the conclusion of a new protocol associated with the EU-Côte d'Ivoire fisheries agreement. The protocol sets out the fishing opportunities available to the EU fleet in Côte d'Ivoire waters, on the basis of the best available scientific advice, and specifies the EU financial contribution in exchange, including increased support for the local fisheries sector and the 'blue economy'. The consent vote and an accompanying motion for resolution will be ...

The European Parliament's consent is required for the conclusion of a new protocol associated with the EU-Côte d'Ivoire fisheries agreement. The protocol sets out the fishing opportunities available to the EU fleet in Côte d'Ivoire waters, on the basis of the best available scientific advice, and specifies the EU financial contribution in exchange, including increased support for the local fisheries sector and the 'blue economy'. The consent vote and an accompanying motion for resolution will be on the plenary agenda during the February part-session.

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