funding for fishingThe European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund should be higher, says Europêche. Photo: Europêche

Europêche has welcomed an agreement from EU decision-makers on the new European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) but criticised the budget decrease.

Part of the package of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the new fisheries fund will cover the budgetary period 2021-2027 with a financial envelope of €6.108bn.

Despite the push from the European Parliament to top up the original budget proposal by €614m (10% increase), and the Commission’s additional funding proposal of €500m to help the sector recover from the impact of Covid-19 (8% increase), in July the EU governments of the European Council decided on a cut of €32m.

Daniel Voces, managing director of Europêche, declared: “Now more than ever the support from the EU is fundamental not only to face external challenges such as the Covid-19 or Brexit but also to implement ambitious policies such as the EU Green Deal.

“With such a difficult scenario and ambitious policies on the horizon, the sector would have expected a higher budget. We regret that the Council has not followed the proposals from the Parliament nor the Commission to increase the financial envelop to meet the pressing challenges confronting us.”

Despite its concerns about the fund, Europêche said it offered simplification and flexibility. The EMFAF aims to help modernise the fleet, support data collection and efficient control, and strengthen international ocean governance.

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