Category Archives: Organisation and Financing of the Fisheries Sector

The common fisheries policy (CFP) has been based on a common organisation of the markets (CMO) since October 1970. This CMO aims to find the right balance between supply and demand in the interests of European fishers and consumers. It introduces marketing standards, a price stabilisation system and rules for trade with third countries. A European Fisheries Fund (EFF) enables solutions to be found to surplus fleet capacity, overindebtedness of enterprises, technical restrictions, and adaptations regarding hygiene, health, product quality and safety on board vessels.

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (Green Paper)

This Green Paper aims to collect the opinions of all persons and organisations affected by the future of the fisheries sector. Despite the measures taken to ensure the sustainable future of the sector, a large number of problems remain, such as overfishing, an increase in seafood imports, Community fleet overcapacity, decreased profitability of the sector and the dependence on public aid. The consultation is the first stage in the process which should lead a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 22 April 2009 – Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy [COM(2009) 163 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Green Paper shall analyse all facets of the current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and seek to explain why certain problems persist despite the progress made since the 2002 reform.

Outcomes of the Common Fisheries Policy

The CFP reform provided for a series of measures to ensure the viability of fisheries. The principal measures adopted under the 2002 reform concerned, amongst others:

  • the introduction of multi-annual plans for stock recovery and management;
  • the integration of environmental concerns into fisheries management;
  • establishing Regional Advisory Committees (RACs);
  • the setting of national ceilings to adapt the fishing capacity of fleets to fishing opportunities;
  • limiting the number of days that a vessel can operate at sea;
  • a gradual withdrawal of public funds for the construction or modernisation of fishing vessels, whilst maintaining aid for improving safety and working conditions on board vessels;
  • establishing fisheries agreements aimed at creating partnerships with third countries.

However, the objectives set in 2002 have not been achieved. Today, the Common Fisheries Policy is characterised by overfishing, fleet overcapacity, heavy subsidies, low economic resilience and a decline in the volume of fish caught by European fishermen. A radical change is needed to address these challenges.

Overcoming the five structural failings of the CFP

The depletion of European fisheries stocks is principally the result of fleet overcapacity. Several solutions are being considered to adapt the size of European fishing fleets to the stocks available. The use of transferable rights and/or the creation of a one-off fund could be a solution to this problem. However, accompanying measures aimed at preventing negative effects on smaller-scale fisheries and coastal communities still need to be drawn up.

The lack of clear political objectives, specifically with regard to ecological responsibility and the connection with general maritime issues, is the second weakness of the current CFP. The Green Paper shall consult the public on how to define the objectives in a clear and prioritised manner for decision-making and implementation.

The majority of decisions affecting the CFP are taken at Council level. This decision-making system is over-centralised and focused on short-term solutions, which compromises sustainability in the long-term. To alleviate this problem, decisions could be made jointly by the Council and the Parliament (co-decision procedure), leaving Member States, the Commission and/or the fisheries sector responsible for implementing the decisions. However, in this new system the role of consultative structures (the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Regional Advisory Committees) should be increased.

The sector lacks responsibility. Therefore a rethink is required on how to give the fisheries sector more responsibility in implementing the CFP, whilst also finding the means of ensuring that the self-management of the industry achieves its goals.

The final structural issue tackled by the Green Paper relates to the absence of political will to ensure compliance. In order to increase compliance with the regulations, the benefits and disadvantages of centralised mechanisms (such as direct Commission action or national/cross-border controls) and de-centralised mechanisms need to be examined by submitting them to consultation.

Improving the management of European Union fisheries

Restoring the productivity of fish stocks is required in order to ensure the economic and social viability of the fisheries sector. In order to improve the management of fisheries, many ideas have been submitted for consultation. These ideas concern:

  • the possibility of introducing a differentiated regime to protect small-scale coastal fleets;
  • the adoption of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) as a management principle and the introduction of long-term management plans in order to make the most of fisheries;
  • the relative stability of Community quotas and access to coastal fisheries;
  • trade in and the market for fisheries products and aquaculture products;
  • integrating the CFP into the broader context of maritime affairs;
  • scientific knowledge and data for policy decision-making;
  • Community funds for fisheries or national aid measures;
  • managing the fishing activities of Community fleets in non-EU waters in order to extend the principles of sustainable and responsible fishing to the international level;
  • the role of aquaculture in the future CFP.

Context

Although the Commission is only legally required to re-examine some of the dimensions of the CFP before 2012, the current situation, specifically with regard to stocks and fleet overcapacity, has convinced the Commission of the need to begin the reform process.

The consultation will close on 31 December 2009. It will form the basis of a public debate on the drafting of a proposal for a new regulation on the CFP. The latter could be presented to the European Parliament and the Council at the beginning of 2011, with a view to adoption in 2012.


Another Normative about Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 13 July 2011 – Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy [COM(2011) 417 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy. In order to do this, it must participate in introducing sustainable and inclusive growth, enhancing cohesion in coastal regions and improving the economic performance of the industry.

The proposals made by the Commission are directed towards sustainability and long-term solutions.

Conservation and sustainability

Through fisheries management that eliminates significant negative effects on other stocks, species and ecosystems, the CFP will contribute to the Good Environmental Status in the marine environment, in line with the provisions of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The measures adopted as part of the CFP reform should enable maximum sustainable yield (MSY) to be reached by 2015, in accordance with the international undertakings made by the European Union (EU). The highest catch that can be taken must not endanger long-term stocks. On the contrary, it should contribute to maintaining the size of the population at maximum productivity.

The measures envisaged also concern the elimination of discards at sea, long-term management plans based on the best available scientific advice, improving data collection and the availability of complete, reliable data for policy-making.

A future for fisheries and aquaculture

The CFP should make fisheries and aquaculture strong, viable, competitive and attractive industries. In order to increase economic viability and eliminate overcapacity, the Commission proposes to introduce a system of transferable fishing concessions for large vessels. The system should enable some operators to buy rights from other operators wishing to leave the industry. The system requires no public funding. Furthermore, it should enable incomes to be increased and new jobs to be created.

Support measures for small-scale fisheries and sustainable aquaculture could also be developed.

Consumer information

Consumers will be better informed of the quality and sustainability of the products they buy. Labelling may include environmental claims or production techniques.

Fishermen’s organisations will become active stakeholders as regards planning their members’ fishing activities, and will play a more central role in driving and supplying the market, as well as increasing fishermen’s profit margins.

Improving governance through regionalisation

The reform should foster solutions that are adapted to local and regional needs, taking better account of the specific features of the different sea basins. Key decisions concerning the general principles and objectives of the policy will still be taken at EU level. However, Member States will be able to take other fisheries management measures, under Commission control. For reasons of effective management, Member States will in particular be able to adopt technical conservation measures and anti-discard measures and transpose them in their national legislation.

The Commission envisages extending the role of the Advisory Councils when drafting conservation policy under the regionalisation model. Due to the specific nature of aquaculture, the Commission also proposes to create a new Advisory Council for Aquaculture.

Financial support

Public funding should cover all activities. It will be thoroughly simplified and will be linked to compliance with certain conditions (particularly of sustainability) by industry operators. The intervention regime under the Common Market Organisation will also be modernised. From now on, the setting of intervention prices will be decentralised and appropriate in order to avoid the destruction of surplus fish to maintain price levels.

External dimension

EU external actions are aimed at sustainability and safeguarding marine ecosystems. They are mainly based on strengthening cooperation in order to share scientific knowledge and to comply with established rules, in particular concerning the fight against illegal fishing.

The EU must play a stronger role in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, international organisations and in its relations with third countries.

Sustainable Fisheries Agreements (SFAs) with non-EU countries must focus more on good management of marine resources, improving scientific knowledge and establishing a quality governance framework.

Context

The reform is based on a large-scale public consultation that was completed in late 2010. Contributions from stakeholders were used in drafting the reform, which includes the following:

  • a legislative proposal for a new Regulation defining the main CFP rules [replacing Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002];
  • a legislative proposal concerning a new market policy [replacing Regulation (EC) No 104/2000];
  • a legislative proposal for a new Regulation on the European Fund for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries;
  • a Communication on the external dimension of the CFP; and
  • a report on Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 regarding the chapters Conservation and Sustainability and Adjustment of Fishing Capacity, and on Article 17(2) on fleet access restriction to 12 nautical miles.

Regional Advisory Councils

Regional Advisory Councils

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Regional Advisory Councils

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Regional Advisory Councils

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2004/585/EC of 19 July 2004 establishing Regional Advisory Councils under the Common Fisheries Policy [See amending acts].

Summary

By this Decision, the Council intends to adopt a general framework for establishing Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) in order to encourage participation by the fisheries sector * in the formulation and management of the common fisheries policy (CFP). Within that context, the parties concerned may make recommendations and suggestions to the Commission and the competent national authorities regarding the geographical areas covered by an RAC.

Establishment

The RACs consist of management units based on biological criteria. They cover sea areas which are the concern of at least two Member States. An RAC is therefore established for:

  • the Baltic Sea;
  • the Mediterranean Sea;
  • the North Sea;
  • north-western waters;
  • south-western waters;
  • pelagic stocks;
  • the high seas/long distance fleet.

Where a matter is of interest to various RACs, they will coordinate their positions and adopt joint recommendations on that issue.

Establishment procedure

In order to establish an RAC, the stakeholders must submit a properly documented request to the Member States concerned * and the Commission. If the Member States consider the request to be compatible with this Decision, they will send a recommendation on the RAC to the Commission. The latter, after evaluation of the recommendation and any necessary amendment to the request, will adopt a decision specifying the date on which the RAC will become operational.

Structure and composition

Each RAC will consist of a general assembly and an executive committee.

The general assembly will approve each year the annual report and the annual strategic plan drawn up by the executive committee.

The general assembly will appoint an executive committee of up to 24 members, which will manage the work of the RAC and adopt its recommendations.

The RACs will consist of representatives of the fisheries sector and other interest groups * affected by the CFP. These will be proposed by the organisations representing the fisheries sector and other interest groups to the Member States concerned who will select all the members of the general assembly.

Scientists will be invited to participate as experts in the work of the RACs. The following may also participate as active observers:

  • the Commission;
  • national and regional administrations of the Member States concerned;
  • a representative of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (ACFA);
  • representatives of the fisheries sector and other interest groups from third countries on an invitation from the RAC.

Functioning

RACs will adopt the measures necessary for their organisation. They may, for example, establish a secretariat and working groups. They will adopt the measures necessary to ensure transparency at all stages of the decision-making process. Their meetings will, in principle, be open to the public, save in exceptional cases.

The members of the executive committee will, where possible, adopt recommendations by consensus.

Financing

RACs may receive Community aid to cover their operating costs, including translation and interpretation. The Financial Regulation provides for such aid for bodies pursuing a European general interest objective. As regards the procedure, the Commission signs grant agreements with the RACs and may carry out checks to ensure that their expenditure matches the tasks they are supposed to perform.

Key terms used in the act
  • Fisheries sector: this includes the sub-sectors fishermen, producer organisations, processors, traders and other market organisations, and women’s groups.
  • Member State concerned: any Member State having fishing interests in the area or fisheries covered by a Regional Advisory Council.
  • Other interest groups: amongst others, environmental organisations and groups, aquaculture producers, consumers and representatives of recreational or sport fishing.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2004/585/EC

10.8.2004

OJ L 256 of 3.8.2004

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2007/409/EC

22.6.2007

OJ L 155 of 15.6.2007

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2008/695/EC of 29 August 2008 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for Mediterranean Sea under the Common Fisheries Policy [Official Journal L 232 of 30.8.2008].

Commission Decision 2007/222/EC of 4 April 2007 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for the south-western waters under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 95 of 5.4.2007].

Commission Decision 2007/206/EC of 29 March 2007 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for the High Seas/Long Distance Fleet under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 91 of 31.3.2007].

Commission Decision 2006/191/EC of 1 March 2006 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for the Baltic Sea under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 66 of 8.3.2006].

Commission Decision 2005/668/EC of 22 September 2005 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for the north-western waters under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 249 of 24.9.2005].

Commission Decision 2005/606/EC of 5 August 2005 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for pelagic stocks under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 206 of 9.8.2005].

Commission Decision 2004/774/EC of 9 November 2004 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for the North Sea under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 342 of 18.11.2004].

Advisory committee on fisheries and aquaculture

Advisory committee on fisheries and aquaculture

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Advisory committee on fisheries and aquaculture

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Advisory committee on fisheries and aquaculture

Document or Iniciative

Commission Decision 1999/478/EC of 14 July 1999, renewing the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This committee gives the main stakeholders in the CFP the opportunity to analyse issues and take common positions. They can also pass on to the Commission their opinions on issues arising from the implementation of CFP legislation.

Structure and composition

The ACFA consists of a committee, a bureau and four working parties:

  • committee – 21 members from a combination of trade bodies representing production, processing and trading of fisheries and aquaculture products and bodies from outside the industry representing the interests of consumers, the environment and development. They are appointed by the Commission on a proposal from the representative bodies in each field for a term of office of three years (renewable);
  • bureau – consisting of the chairs and vice-chairs of the working parties and the chair of the Sectoral Dialogue Committee for fisheries. Its work mainly involves preparing the meetings of the full committee and planning the work of both committee and working parties.
  • working parties – composed of experts representing trade bodies, civil society and scientific and/or economic bodies. Different experts are sent to each meeting from the EU-level organisations in each field, depending on the issues to be discussed. The working parties carry out the preparatory work for the opinion of the full committee.

Operation

The committee can be consulted by the Commission. It may also look at issues related to the implementation of CFP legislation, apart from those pertaining to industrial relations, which are dealt with by the Sectoral Dialogue Committee.

The working parties meet at the request of the Commission on the basis of an annual work programme decided jointly by the committee and the Commission. The committee decides the rules for: implementing the work programme, preparing and holding meetings, taking positions or drafting conclusions, formulating the opinions and recommendations prepared in advance by the working parties and the bureau.

Decision 2004/864/EC

This Commission decision changes the structure of the ACFA to reflect the rapid expansion of the EU aquaculture sector in recent years. To give this sector better representation, it expands the committee to include the vice-chair of the working party for aquaculture, taking the number of committee members to 21.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 1999/478/EC

1.8.1999

OJ L 187 of 20.7.1999

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2004/864/EC

20.12.2004

OJ L 370 of 17.12.2004

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

The common fisheries policy (CFP) has been based on a common organisation of the markets (CMO) since October 1970. This CMO aims to find the right balance between supply and demand in the interests of European fishers and consumers. It introduces marketing standards, a price stabilisation system and rules for trade with third countries. A European Fisheries Fund (EFF) enables solutions to be found to surplus fleet capacity, overindebtedness of enterprises, technical restrictions, and adaptations regarding hygiene, health, product quality and safety on board vessels.

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

  • Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy
  • Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (Green Paper)
  • Improving decision-making in Community fisheries management

Markets

  • Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Social standards

  • Organisation of seafarers’ working time
  • Organisation of hours of work on board ships using Community ports
  • Fishing vessels
  • Improved medical treatment on board vessels

Institutional aspects

  • Advisory committee on fisheries and aquaculture
  • Regional Advisory Councils
  • Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries
  • Community Fisheries Control Agency

STRUCTURAL MEASURES AND FINANCING

  • Improving the financial measures relating to the common fisheries policy

2007-2013

  • Interinstitutional Agreement on cooperation in budgetary matters
  • European Fisheries Fund
  • Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

2007-2013

  • Detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector
  • Emergency measures for scrapping fishing vessels
  • FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

STATE AID

  • State Aid: Guidelines
  • De minimis aid for the fisheries sector
  • State aid for SMEs in the fisheries sector
  • Improving the economic situation in the fishing industry
  • State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty

State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty

State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission – Community guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty [Official Journal C 244 of 1.10.2004].

Summary

The guidelines clarify the Commission’s approach in cases where the public authorities grant financial support to firms in difficulty *. Under the general principle of the prohibition of state aid (Article 87(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Community), aid granted to firms in difficulty must not be allowed to become the rule. The exit of inefficient firms is a normal part of the operation of the market and, while rescuing and restructuring aid may keep in existence firms in difficulty, this is generally at the expense of their competitors.

Financial contribution from the beneficiary firm to the restructuring

The guidelines are based on the principle whereby, in any restructuring operation, the beneficiary is required to finance a substantial proportion of its restructuring costs.

Depending on the size of the beneficiary, thresholds determine its contribution to the overall cost of restructuring: at least 50 % for large firms, 40 % for medium-sized firms and 25 % for small firms. The guidelines are, therefore, concerned especially with large firms operating throughout the European Union. Such firms generally have large market shares and the state aid granted to them has a more appreciable impact on competition and trade.

The beneficiary’s contribution has a twofold purpose: it will demonstrate that the markets (owners, creditors) believe in the feasibility of the return to viability within a reasonable period of time, and it ensures that the aid is limited to the minimum required to restore viability while limiting distortion of competition.

A substantial contribution from the beneficiary to the restructuring was previously required under the 1999 guidelines. The 2004 guidelines reaffirm with greater clarity the principle that the contribution must be real and free of aid.

“One time, last time” principle

The guidelines also stipulate a uniform period of ten years during which the beneficiary of the aid may not receive any additional rescue or restructuring aid. This “one time, last time” principle is designed to prevent repeated granting of rescue or restructuring aid that keeps firms artificially in business. An important exception to this rule is where restructuring aid follows the granting of rescue aid as part of a single restructuring operation.

Definition of rescue and restructuring aid

The guidelines extend the concept of rescue aid so as to allow the beneficiary to take urgent measures, even of a structural nature. Firms in difficulty may already need to take certain urgent structural measures to halt or reduce down a worsening of their financial situation during the rescue phase.

Under the 1999 guidelines, no restructuring measure financed through state aid could be undertaken during the rescue phase. Admittedly, rescue and restructuring involve the interplay of different mechanisms but are often two phases of the same operation. Such a strict distinction between rescue and restructuring has thus given rise to difficulties.

Accordingly, rescue aid is by nature temporary and reversible. Its objective is to allow time to analyse the circumstances which gave rise to the difficulties and to develop an appropriate plan to remedy those difficulties. Restructuring will be based on a practical plan for restoring a firm’s long-term viability. Any aid granted following the adoption and implementation of a restructuring or liquidation plan for which aid has been requested will be considered as restructuring aid.

GENERAL CONDITIONS FOR AUTHORISING AID

Common rules apply to rescue aid and restructuring aid:

  • the firm must qualify as a firm in difficulty within the meaning of the guidelines;
  • a recently established firm may not receive rescue and restructuring aid for the first three years of its existence.

In order to be approved, rescue aid must:

  • be in the form of loan guarantees or loans granted at an interest rate comparable to those for loans to healthy firms;
  • be reimbursed within a period of not more than six months after disbursement of the first instalment;
  • be warranted on the grounds of serious social difficulties;
  • have no unduly adverse spillover effects on other Member States;
  • be accompanied, on notification, by an undertaking given by the Member State concerned to communicate to the Commission within six months a restructuring plan, a liquidation plan or proof that the loan has been reimbursed in full and/or that the guarantee has been terminated;
  • be restricted to the amount needed to keep the firm in business for the period during which the aid is authorised;
  • respect the “one time, last time” principle.

Restructuring aid raises particular competition concerns. The general principle is to allow restructuring aid to be granted only in circumstances in which any distortions of competition will be offset by the benefits flowing from the firm’s survival. Authorisation will be granted only if strict conditions are met:

  • a restructuring plan must be implemented that restores the firm’s long-term viability within a reasonable timescale;
  • compensatory measures must be taken to prevent or to minimise the risks of distortion of competition (divestment of assets, reductions in capacity or market presence, etc.);
  • the aid must be limited to the strict minimum and the rules on the beneficiary’s contribution must be complied with;
  • specific conditions may be attached by the Commission to the authorisation of aid;
  • the restructuring plan must be implemented in full;
  • the Commission must be in a position to make sure that the restructuring plan is being implemented properly, through regular reports communicated by the Member State concerned.

The conditions for authorising restructuring aid are, however, less strict where the aid is granted to small firms since it affects competition less than aid for medium-sized and large firms.

SCOPE

The guidelines are based on Article 87(2) and (3) of the Treaty establishing the European Community, which stipulates that aid falling within the scope of Article 87(1) may be regarded as being compatible with the common market.

They apply to firms in difficulty in all sectors, including agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, subject to certain conditions. The coal and steel sectors are, however, excluded from the scope of the guidelines.

DATE OF APPLICATION AND DURATION

The Commission will apply the new guidelines with effect from 10 October 2004. Only state aid notified after that date will be subject to them as they do not have retrospective effect.

Key terms used in the act
  • Firm in difficulty: a firm is regarded as being in difficulty where it is unable, whether through its own resources or with the funds it is able to obtain from its owner/shareholders or creditors, to stem losses which, without outside intervention by the public authorities, will almost certainly condemn it to going out of business in the short or medium term.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission – Temporary Community framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis [Official Journal C16/3 of 22.1.2009].
This Communication aims to introduce a temporary State aid system in order to cope with the failures resulting from the economic and financial crisis that began in October 2008. The temporary additional measures provided for meet two principal objectives:

  • to unblock bank lending to companies;
  • to encourage companies to continue investing in the future, in particular in sustainable growth.

To achieve these objectives, Member States may, under certain conditions and until the end of 2010, provide in particular:

  • maximum flat-rate aid of EUR 500 000 per company during the first two years, to help companies overcome the current difficulties;
  • State guarantees for loans accompanied by a premium reduction;
  • subsidised loans, in particular for the production of green products (meeting environmental protection standards early or going beyond such standards);
  • aid in the form of risk capital, which may be up to EUR 2.5 million per SME and per year (instead of the current EUR 1.5 million) provided that at least 30 % (instead of the current 50 %) of the investment costs are met by private investors.

Communication from the Commission on the application of State aid rules to measures taken in relation to financial institutions in the context of the current global financial crisis [Official Journal C 270/02 of 25.10.2008].
This Communication clarifies the application of State aid rules to emergency measures aimed to offset losses due to the October 2008 financial crisis.

Public intervention should be decided at national level within a coordinated framework and on the basis of a certain number of European Union common principles. Two types of financial institution receiving aid are distinguished with consequences for restructuring when State aid has been received:

  • financial institutions which are fundamentally healthy and whose difficulties of access to liquidity is exclusively a result of general market conditions;
  • financial institutions with endogenous problems due to their business mode or business practices and whose weaknesses have been exposed and exacerbated by the crisis in the financial markets.

The Communication covers two main types of measure taken with regard to these institutions:

  • guarantees covering financial institutions’ debts. These include in particular general guarantees protecting retail deposits and liabilities, some types of interbank deposits and short and medium-term debt instruments. The duration and amount of these guarantees must be limited to the minimum necessary and the guarantees must include appropriate mechanisms to minimise undue distortions of competition;
  • the recapitalisation of financial institutions. Public funds are provided in order to strengthen the capital base of the institutions directly. This injection of capital must be limited to the strict minimum, so as not to encourage the financial institution to engage in other activities or in an aggressive commercial strategy.

Member States may also accompany this aid and restructuring with the provisions of public funds, in particular from the central bank.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

The Regulation on the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) sets out the policy priorities and the terms of assistance for the fisheries and aquaculture sector for the period 2000-06. The FIFG is designed to help achieve the aims of the common fisheries policy by providing structural assistance. It thus strengthens the competitiveness of the operating structures and the development of economically viable enterprises.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1263/1999 of 21 June 1999 on the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

Summary

The aim of the FIFG is to contribute to achieving the objectives of the common fisheries policy. It supports structural measures in fisheries, aquaculture and the processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products. In this way it promotes the restructuring of the sector by putting in place the right conditions for its development and modernisation.

Objectives

The aims of the FIFG’s structural measures are to:

  • contribute to achieving a balance between fisheries resources and their exploitation,
  • strengthen the competitiveness of operating structures and the development of economically viable enterprises in the sector;
  • improve market supply and the value added to fishery and aquaculture products;
  • contribute to revitalising areas dependent on fisheries and aquaculture.

Scope

This Regulation grants FIFG support to the following in line with the FIFG’s overall objectives:

  • fleet renewal and modernisation of fishing vessels;
  • adjustment of fishing effort;
  • joint enterprises;
  • small-scale coastal fisheries;
  • socio-economic measures;
  • protection of marine resources in coastal waters;
  • aquaculture;
  • fishing port facilities;
  • processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products;
  • seeking new outlets for such products;
  • operations by members of the trade;
  • innovative actions, in particular those of a transnational nature and involving the networking of operators and areas dependent on the sector.
  • technical assistance.

Programming

This Regulation firmly links the FIFG both to the structural policy established by Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds and to the common fisheries policy provided for in Council Regulation (EEC) No 3760/92.

The structural measures financed by the FIFG fall under different multiannual programmes according to the regional context in which they apply:

  • where regions are eligible for Structural Funds under Objective 1, the measures are included in the programming for that Objective;
  • where regions are not eligible for Objective 1, the measures are covered by single programming documents in each Member State.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1263/1999 29.06.1999 OJ L 161 of 26.06.1999

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EC) No 2370/2002 of 20 December 2002 establishing an emergency Community measure for scrapping fishing vessels [Official Journal L 358 of 31.12.2002].

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2722/2000 of 13 December 2000 establishing the conditions under which the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) may make a contribution towards the eradication of pathological risks in aquaculture [Official Journal L 314 of 14.12.2000].

Council Regulation (EC) No 2792/1999 of 17 December 1999 laying down the detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector [Official Journal L 83 of 4.4.2000].
This Regulation lays down the detailed rules and arrangements for Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector. It specifies the procedure for adopting the multiannual guidance programmes for the fishing fleets (MAGPs) for the period starting on 1 January 2002.

Commission Decision 1999/500/EC of 1 July 1999 fixing an indicative allocation by Member State of the commitment appropriations under the financial instrument for fisheries guidance (FIFG) outside the Objective 1 regions of the Structural Funds for the period 2000 to 2006 [Official Journal L 194 of 27.07.1999]
This Decision lays down the indicative allocation by Member State of the commitment appropriations under the FIFG outside the Objective 1 regions for 11 Member States (excluding Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal). These appropriations total EUR 1 106 million in 2000-06 (1999 prices). The total allocations for the FIFG for the period 2000-06 total EUR 4 119 million (2005 prices).

Council Regulation (EEC) No 3760/92 of 20 December 1992 establishing a Community system for fisheries and aquaculture (Official Journal of the European Communities L389 of 31.12.1992)
This Regulation establishes a Community system for fisheries and aquaculture. It contributes towards achieving a balance between conservation and the management of resources, on the one hand, and fishing effort and the stable and rational exploitation of those resources, on the other.

Improving the financial measures relating to the common fisheries policy

Improving the financial measures relating to the common fisheries policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving the financial measures relating to the common fisheries policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Improving the financial measures relating to the common fisheries policy

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 861/2006 of 22 May 2006 establishing Community financial measures for the implementation of the common fisheries policy and in the area of the Law of the Sea.

Summary

Through this Regulation the Council intends to improve the effectiveness of financial interventions within the framework of the implementation and control of the common fisheries policy (CFP).

Priority objectives

Financial measures are provided for in order to implement the CFP. The financial interventions concern:

  • improving the control of fishing activities and the application of CFP measures. The purpose of the funds allocated to the Member States is to compensate for any shortfall in national fisheries control programmes and to deal with deteriorating resources. The aim is to coordinate these control measures, taking particular account of the deployment of national inspection and surveillance systems through the Community Fisheries Control Agency;
  • data collection and improving scientific advice. The aim of the financial interventions made to Member States is to provide additional information for the evaluation of fisheries resources. Data handling goes hand in hand with collecting information, and it is essential to involve all stakeholders in the implementation of these measures. The Community funds will be used to support the establishment of complete databases which will be regularly updated within the Member States;
  • international relations. The financial interventions will support the conclusion of fisheries agreements with third countries, collaboration with the United Nations and the establishment of partnerships in the sector. These funds are also to be used for Community participation in preparatory work aimed at establishing new international organisations and/or new international standards in the fisheries sector and to protect fisheries resources;
  • governance of the CFP. The Regulation provides for expenditure relating to the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (ACFA) and the Regional Advisory Councils (RACs), as well as for financing the operational costs of establishing the RACs.

Allocation of Community funds

These various actions will be financed within the framework of the financial guidelines for the period 2007-13. These actions receive Community funding as they help to ensure a long-term balance for fisheries resources.

Annual appropriations will be authorised by the budgetary authority within the limits of the financial framework. The measures financed under this Regulation may not receive financial assistance from other Community instruments. The Commission will ensure that preventive measures are established against fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities by providing for the recovery of the amounts paid if any irregularities are detected.

The implementation of these actions will be monitored on a regular basis. The Commission will ensure the regular, independent, external evaluation of the actions financed.

Under this Regulation the Commission must present to the Parliament and to the Council by 31 March 2011 an interim evaluation report on the results obtained and on the monitoring of the implementation of the actions financed by Community funds. A communication on the continuation of these actions will be published no later than 30 August 2012.

References

Act Entry into force – expiry date Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 861/2006

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 160 of 14.6.2006.

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EC) No of 3 November 2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No as regards the expenditure incurred by Member States for the collection and management of the basic fisheries data [Official Journal L 295 of 4.11.2008].
This Regulation establishes the Community financial contribution for expenditure incurred by Member States for the collection and management of the basic fisheries data. Member States are to submit an annual budget forecast concerning their national programme to the Commission for evaluation. The Commission may request a Member State to provide further clarification on the expenditure concerned in order to carry out that evaluation. The Member State shall provide that clarification within 15 calendar days from the Commission’s request. Eligible expenditure shall be related to data collection activities (collection of data on the sampling sites, at-sea-monitoring of commercial and recreational fisheries, research surveys at sea), data management activities (database and website development, storage, quality control and validation, processing, etc.) and data use activities (production of data and their uses to support scientific analysis, biological parameter estimates, and preparation of sets of data for stock assessment, bio-economic modelling and corresponding scientific analysis). The first national programme covers the period 2009-2010.

Commission Regulation (EC) No of 11 April 2007 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No as regards the expenditure incurred by Member States in implementing the monitoring and control systems applicable to the Common Fisheries Policy [Official Journal L 97 of 12.4.2007].
This Regulation establishes the conditions governing financial aid from the Community for expenditure incurred by Member States on the control and implementation of the CFP regulations during the period 2007-2013. To receive financial aid, Member States must notify the Commission of their control programme before 31 January each year. Eligible projects are generally for a sum greater than 40 000 euros. They must follow the schedule set out in the annual programme and are subject to an interim evaluation report and a final report which is submitted to the Commission by each Member State. In addition, some additional conditions must be met for investment in new technologies, the purchase and modernisation of vessels and training and exchange programmes.

 

Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Since the 1970s, the CMO of fishery products contributed towards reducing the effects of variations in demand and supply in the interests of fishermen, processing companies and consumers.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 of 17 December 1999 on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The common organisation of the markets (CMO) in fishery products * was created in 1970. It was the first component of the common fisheries policy (CFP).

Marketing standards

Fishery products may be sold or marketed only if they meet marketing standards covering classification by quality, size or weight categories, packaging, presentation and labelling. Member States must check that products comply with the marketing standards.

Consumer information

Live, fresh or chilled products may be sold to the final consumer only if they are appropriately marked or labelled with:

  • the commercial name of the species;
  • the method of production (fresh water, sea or farmed);
  • the catch area.

Formation and recognition of producer organisations

Producer organisations (PO) are set up by fishermen or fish farmers who voluntarily form an association with the aim of implementing measures to ensure optimum conditions for the marketing of their products. Those measures should seek to:

  • give priority to planning production and bringing it into line with demand, in particular by implementing catch plans;
  • promote concentration of supply;
  • stabilise prices;
  • promote methods that encourage sustainable fishing.

Member States will recognise groups as POs if they apply for recognition and meet certain requirements.

They may also grant specific recognition to POs if they have put forward a plan to improve product quality.

Extension of rules laid down by producer organisations

Where a PO is representative of production and marketing in one or more landing places, the Member State may make various measures introduced by that PO compulsory for non-members marketing products in the same area.

Planning of production and marketing

Each producer organisation must draw up an operational programme for the fishing year and send it to the relevant authorities in the Member State. The programme must include:

  • a marketing strategy for bringing the volume and quality of supply into line with market requirements;
  • a catch plan or production plan depending on the species;
  • anticipatory measures for adjusting the supply of species that are difficult to market;
  • the penalties to be imposed on members who fail to comply with the decisions taken.

Financial support

Member States may grant POs compensation for a period of five years to enable them to fulfil their obligations with regard to the planning of production and marketing. The way the grant is calculated varies depending on the species.

Member States may also grant additional aid to POs for the introduction of measures aimed at improving organisation and marketing of fish and achieving a better balance between supply and demand. This aid is granted under Commission Regulation (EC) No 498/2007 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund.

Interbranch organisations (IOs)

Subject to checks by the Commission, Member States may recognise groups as interbranch organisations if they apply for recognition and are made up of representatives of production, trade and processing.

Recognition is subject to certain conditions, the most important of which are linked to the measures that may be implemented by IOs (for example, improving market knowledge and market transparency, etc.).

Extension of arrangements to non-members

Where an IO is representative of the production of and/or trade in and/or processing of a given product, a Member State may, at the request of the organisation, make some of the arrangements binding for a limited period on other operators in the region who do not belong to the organisation.

The arrangements for which extension may be requested must meet certain conditions and relate to one of the following areas: information about production and the market, stricter production rules than those laid down by Community and national legislation, drawing up standard contracts that are compatible with Community legislation, and marketing rules.

Prices and intervention

To ensure the supply of the market in fishery products, the Community has set up a system designed to:

  • alleviate the most negative effects of the imbalance between supply and demand;
  • stabilise prices in order to guarantee fishermen a minimum level of income;
  • promote the general competitiveness of the Community fishing fleet on world markets.

It is based on a system of prices, which, when applied, triggers financial intervention mechanisms.

Those mechanisms are determined on the basis of the guide price set by the Council for certain products before the start of the fishing year. The guide price is based on the average of the prices recorded on the wholesale markets or in ports during the previous three fishing years and takes account of predicted trends in production and demand.

In order to guarantee fishermen a minimum level of income, POs may withdraw fishery products from the market if prices fall below a given level. This level, called the Community withdrawal price, is set by the Commission each year for each type of product marketed. It is calculated in relation to the guide price, not exceeding 90 % of that price, and on the basis of the freshness, size and presentation of the product. When prices fall and the intervention mechanisms are triggered, members receive compensation from the PO to which they belong.

Community withdrawals

For POs to be granted financial compensation for fish permanently withdrawn from the market, certain conditions must be met:

  • the withdrawal price applied by the POs must be the same as the Community withdrawal price, with a tolerance margin of 10 % above or below that price;
  • the products withdrawn must comply with the marketing standards and be of adequate quality;
  • the withdrawal price must apply throughout the fishing year for each category of products concerned.

It is for the POs to determine how to dispose of the products withdrawn from the market in a way that does not interfere with normal marketing of the products concerned. Withdrawn products can be used for charitable purposes, for manufacturing animal feed or for other purposes apart from human consumption.

Carry-over

For products subject to withdrawal, the decision may be taken to process and store them for later human consumption if they are particularly suitable for disposing of in this way. These products must be processed under strict conditions in order to guarantee their quality so that they can be placed on the market again at a later stage in accordance with the criteria set for each species.

Carry-over aid may not exceed the technical and financial costs of processing and storage, calculated as a flat rate. The authorised processing methods are freezing, salting, drying, marinating, boiling and pasteurisation, where appropriate accompanied by filleting, cutting-up or heading. The minimum storage period is 5 days.

Independent withdrawals and carry-over by producer organisations

Certain fishery products that account for a significant proportion of the income of regional or local producers cannot be included in the Community withdrawal price system because there are considerable variations in market prices across Member States or regions and because the overall level of production of those products on the Community market is too low.

The autonomous withdrawals and carry-over mechanism compensates for this by granting flat?rate aid to POs withdrawing those products from the market, either permanently or provisionally, provided that certain conditions are met. The prices to be applied are set autonomously by the POs. There are ceilings on the quantities eligible for flat-rate aid (10 % of the quantities put up for sale during a fishing year) and autonomous withdrawal (5 %).

Private storage

Private storage aid applies to certain products that have been frozen on board the vessel and cannot be marketed at the Community selling price set by the Community before the start of each fishing year. These products are temporarily withdrawn from the market and stored for a minimum of 5 days. The conditions of storage and return to the market must be such that quality standards can be maintained and guaranteed.

Aid may be granted up to a maximum of 15 % of the annual quantities of the products concerned put up for sale by a PO. The level of aid is set on a flat-rate basis before the start of each fishing year on the basis of the technical and financial costs of the facilities required for storing frozen products.

Special arrangements for tuna (bonito, etc.)

Tuna fishing provides supplies primarily for the canning industry, which is why the market organisation arrangements focus on this form of marketing.

The Council sets a Community producer price for the different species of tuna on the basis of the average of the prices recorded on the wholesale markets or in ports during the previous three fishing years.

If the average price for tuna on the Community market and the import price are both below 87 % of the Community producer price, POs may be granted a compensatory allowance of an amount set by the Commission.

Trade with non-EU countries

To ensure adequate supply to the Community processing industry, customs duties for certain products (Alaska pollack, cod, hoki, surimi, etc.) can be totally or partially suspended for an indefinite period.

Reference price

In order to prevent market disturbances as a result of supplies from non-EU countries at abnormally low prices, certain products may be imported into the Community customs territory only if the reference price set each year by the Commission is complied with.

Safeguard measures

Where, as a result of exceptional circumstances, the Community market is threatened with or affected by serious disturbances and a price collapse, safeguard measures may be applied in trade with non-EU countries until the situation returns to normal.

Emergency measures

Where price increases and supply problems are recorded on the Community market for one or more products, the Council will take the necessary action to remedy the situation.

Equal access to facilities

Member States must ensure equal conditions of access to all ports, installations and other facilities for vessels flying any of their flags.

Checks, surveillance and implementation

The Member States and the Commission must put in place systems for communicating and exchanging information, the cost of which will be partly borne by the Community budget.

In order to prevent and curb fraud, Member States must conduct regular checks on, for example, beneficiaries of financial assistance.

The Commission is assisted by the Management Committee for Fishery Products, which is made up of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a Commission representative.

Key terms used in the act
  • Fishery products: products caught at sea or in inland waters and the products of aquaculture. These include live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or smoked fish, fish in brine and crustaceans, molluscs, meal, powders, etc.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 104/2000

1.1.2001 

(1.1.2002
for Article 4, containing the rules on consumer information)

OJ L 17, 21.1.2000

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded – Annexe II: List referred to in Article 20 of the Act of Accession – 7. Fisheries

1.5.2004

OJ L 236, 23.9.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1759/2006

2.12.2006

OJ L 335, 1.12.2006

Regulation (EC) No 1258/2010

1.1.2011

OJ L 343, 29.10.2010

RELATED ACTS

Price system

of 11 February 2011 fixing the amount of the carry-over aid and the flat-rate aid for certain fishery products for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 124/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the amount of private storage aid for certain fishery products in the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 123/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the Union selling prices for the fishery products listed in Annex II to Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 122/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the Union withdrawal and selling prices for the fishery products listed in Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 121/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the standard values to be used in calculating the financial compensation and the advance pertaining thereto in respect of fishery products withdrawn from the market during the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 120/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the reference prices for certain fishery products for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Producer organisations

List of the producer organisations recognised in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

List of the producer organisations in the fishery and aquaculture sector from which recognition has been withdrawn in 2010.

Applying the legislation

Report on the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 [COM(2006) 558 final – not published in the Official Journal].

This report notes that the implementation of catch plans by POs has brought about a considerable reduction in the levels of intervention, while interventions also involved a shift towards carry-over operations and away from wasteful withdrawals of fishery products. However, the introduction of IOs has not been such a success, probably because there is not enough cooperation between the various operators in the marketing chain. It was also noted that the European market is changing. Market prices are not keeping pace with production costs, which makes it more difficult to guarantee producers a decent standard of living. The market is becoming increasingly dependent on imports from non-EU countries in order to meet the needs of consumers and the processing industry.

European Fisheries Fund

European Fisheries Fund

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Fisheries Fund

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

European Fisheries Fund

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 of 27 July 2006 on the European Fisheries Fund [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) shall contribute to realising the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) objectives, which specifically consist of ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. In order to achieve this, the Fund shall provide financial support aimed at:

  • ensure the long-term future of fishing activities and the sustainable use of fishery resources;
  • reduce pressure on stocks by matching EU fleet capacity to available;
  • promote the sustainable development of inland fishing;
  • help boost economically viable enterprises in the fisheries sector and make operating structures more competitive;
  • foster the protection of the environment and the conservation of marine resources;
  • encourage sustainable development and improve the quality of life in areas with an active fishing industry;
  • promote equality between women and men active in the fisheries sector.

Priorities

The EFF provides for five priorities:

  • measures to adapt the EU fishing fleet:

    financial assistance can be granted to fishermen and fishing vessel owners affected by the measures taken to combat overfishing or to protect public health to help them temporarily or permanently lay up fishing vessels and to train, re-skill and provide early retirement to fishermen. Vessels that are permanently laid up, in addition to those already due for scrapping, may be reused for other non-fishing activities or for the creation of artificial reefs. The EFF may contribute to improving working conditions, the quality of products, energy yield and catch selectivity. It may also contribute towards replacing engines, providing non-renewable compensation to fishermen affected by permanent cessation of fishing activities and for premiums for young fishermen to buy their first fishing vessel. However, financial assistance may in no circumstances lead to an increase in the catch capacity or the power of the fishing vessel’s engine;
  • aquaculture, inland fishing, processing and marketing:
    the EFF promotes the purchase and use of gear and methods that reduce the impact of aquaculture production on the environment and improve the quality of produce and conditions in terms of human and animal health. Assistance will be limited to micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as certain large enterprises with less than 750 employees or whose turnover is less than EUR 200 million. Priority is nevertheless given to micro and small enterprises;
  • collective action:
    certain collective action could receive aid from the EFF on the condition that they contribute to the sustainable development or conservation of resources, to improving the services offered by fishing ports, to strengthening markets in fishery products and to promoting partnerships between scientists and operators in the fisheries sector;
  • sustainable development of fishing areas: the EFF supports measures and initiatives aimed at diversifying and strengthening economic development in areas affected by the decline in fishing activities.
  • technical assistance: the Fund may finance initiatives involving preparations, monitoring, administrative and technical support, evaluation, audit and checks needed to implement this Regulation.

Programming

One of the main objectives of the EFF is to simplify the allocation and management of funding. Member States must send the Commission a strategic plan and an operational programme in order to benefit from assistance under the European Fisheries Fund.

The national strategic plans must set out the national priorities and objectives to implement the CFP. The Commission will organise a debate with Member States by 31 December 2011 to assess the progress made in implementing the strategic plans on the basis of the conclusions of intermediary assessments.

The strategic plans form a basis for the development of operational programmes, which will implement the policies and priorities to be co-financed by the EFF. The Commission approves the operational programmes by issuing a decision, after having checked that they are in line with the objectives of the EFF. If necessary, it may require that the operational programmes be modified.

The operational programmes are subjected to three assessments. Member States are responsible for forecast and interim assessments whilst the Commission carries out the final assessment. The part of the budget reserved for technical assistance may be used to finance these assessments.

Responsibilities

The Regulation defines the responsibilities of the Member States and of the Commission concerning the EFF. In particular, Member States are tasked with informing the general public, potential beneficiaries and stakeholders of the opportunities available under the EFF to ensure that the Fund is used in a transparent manner and to underline the role of the EU.

Financial framework

The EFF has a budget of €4 304 million for the period 2007-13. Over that period the Commission proposes to allocate on average €615 million per year to the Member States who have decided to benefit from EFF aid (all the Member States except for Luxembourg).

The amounts are divided between the Member States according to the size of their fisheries sector, the number of people working in the sector, the adjustments considered necessary for the fishing industry and continuity of the measures in hand.

Except for certain expenditure incurred by the Commission that is 100 % covered by the EFF, the maximum contribution of the EFF is always calculated as a proportion of the total sum of all public expenditure. It varies according to the priority of the initiative and will be higher for the most disadvantaged regions and for the new Member States, i.e. those covered by the new “convergence” objective under the Structural Funds. The intensity of public aid authorised for each operation financed also varies according to the same parameters (see Annex II to the Regulation).

The Regulation sets the rules governing eligibility of expenditure (Article 55), financial management, financial corrections, budgetary appropriations and reimbursement. It establishes a Committee of the European Fisheries Fund to assist the Commission in managing the EFF.

The Union’s contribution cannot exceed the public contribution or the maximum amount of EFF assistance for each priority axis and each objective. However, derogations may be granted upon request in writing by a Member State and under certain conditions (see Article 76).

Management, monitoring and control

Each Member State must appoint the following bodies before requests for payment can be submitted:

  • a managing authority for the programme to select and monitor initiatives to be financed;
  • a certification authority to verify that expenditure complies with EU rules;
  • an audit authority to verify the proper functioning of the managing and certification authorities;
  • a monitoring committee, which a representative of the Commission participates in for advisory purposes and which assesses progress in reaching the objectives of the operational programme.

Each year the managing authorities must send the Commission an annual report, to which the Commission replies with its comments. The Commission summarises these reports in its annual report which it sends to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. The Member States must also send a final report on the implementation of the operational programme before 31 March 2017.

Context

for fisheries programming under the Financial Perspective for the EU for the 2007-13 period, replacing the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG).

Like the other European Funds, the EFF reflects the principles of the new approach for simplification, transparency, strategic planning and greater responsibility for the Member States in selecting and implementing the Funds. The EFF is one of two instruments for expenditure incurred under the CFP.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006

4.9.2006

OJ L 223 of 15.8.2006

Amending Act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No. 387/2012

16.5.2012

OJ L 129 of 16.5.2012

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 have been incorporated into the original text.

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2008/693/EC of 13 August 2008 amending Decision C(2006) 4332 fixing an annual indicative allocation by Member State for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013 of the Community commitment appropriations from the European Fisheries Fund.

Detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector

Detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector

This Regulation lays down, for the period 2000 to 2006, the detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance to attain the objectives in the fisheries sector under the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) and to guide and encourage restructuring under the fisheries structural policy.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 2792/1999 of 17 December 1999 laying down the detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector. [See amending acts].

Summary

General framework

The mechanisms and rules regarding assistance put in place by this Regulation are based on the arrangements concerning the basic Regulation for the four Community Structural Funds to which the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) belongs (Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999).

The structural measures for fisheries seek to guide and facilitate the restructuring of the industry. This is urgent and necessary if fishing is to have a future, given the continuing imbalance between available resources and fishing capacity. Against this background no public aid leading to an increase in fishing effort is permitted.

Renewal and modernisation of the fishing fleet

Public aid administered by the Member States must comply with the rules relating to the conservation of fish stocks. Where necessary, these aids may facilitate the limiting and/or stopping of fishing.

Member States may adopt two types of measures qualifying for public aid to stop the activities of fishing vessels definitively. These comprise, subject to certain conditions relating to the age and the tonnage of the vessels:

  • scrapping of the vessel;
  • permanent reassignment of the vessel for a purpose other than fishing.

Public aid may be granted for the modernisation of the fleet and the adoption of more selective fishing techniques. Expenditure on equipment and modernisation will be ineligible for aid during the five years following the grant of public aid for the building of the vessel concerned (except for surveillance and acoustic deterrent equipment). For vessels more than five years old provided their fishing capacity is not increased, aid may be obtained to improve safety, hygiene and working conditions and product quality. Premiums may not be aggregated. They will be reduced also by the amount of the modernisation aid or the aid received for temporary cessation. Aid for satellite-based systems for the surveillance of vessels may not be aggregated with aid received under measures for the control, inspection and surveillance of fishing vessels. Furthers conditions are laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 of 20 December 2002 on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources under the Common Fisheries Policy.

Small-scale coastal fishing

This type of fishing is carried on by vessels of a total overall length of less than 12 metres that do not use certain types of towed gear. Given the importance of small-scale coastal fishing and the contribution it makes to employment, the Member States may, subject to certain conditions, take additional measures concerning modernisation aid.
Consequently, where a number of vessel owners or members of families of fishermen engaging in small-scale coastal fishing implement cooperatively an integrated collective project for the structural improvement of fishing, a lump-sum premium (of not more than EUR 150,000) may be granted to the participants.

Socio-economic measures

Fishermen may qualify for various socio-economic measures to alleviate the negative effects of the reduction in fishing effort granted by Member States, including:

  • the part-financing of national early-retirement schemes subject to certain conditions concerning age (beneficiaries must be not less than 55 years old or not more than ten years below the legal retirement age) and the period for which they have worked as fishermen (at least 10 years);
  • individual lump-sum payments (not more than EUR 10 000) in the event of unemployment arising from the permanent cessation of fishing by a vessel (this aid will have to be reimbursed pro rata temporis if the beneficiary resumes fishing less than one year after obtaining payment of the premium);
  • non-renewable individual payments to fishermen to help them retrain (up to EUR 50 000) or diversify their activities (up to EUR 20 000) outside maritime fisheries at the same time permitting them to continue fishing on a part-time basis, on condition that it contributes to a reduction in the fishing effort of beneficiaries;
  • individual premiums to fishermen who are at least 35 years old and can show that they have worked as fishermen for at least five years or have obtained vocational training and who acquire part or total ownership of a fishing vessel for the first time. The vessel must be aged between 10 and 20 years and have an overall length between 7 and 24 metres. The transfer of ownership may not take place within the same family, up to the second degree, and the premium may not exceed 10% of the acquisition cost or EUR 50 000.

If the Council adopts a recovery plan or if the Commission or one or more Member States adopt special or emergency measures, the premium amount may be increased by 20%.

Investment aid

Member States may encourage investment in several fields:

  • work intended to protect and develop aquatic resources, save for restocking;
  • aquaculture;
  • facilities at fishing ports;
  • the processing and marketing of fishery products;
  • inland fishing.

To qualify for aid, projects must:

  • contribute to lasting benefits for the economy;
  • offer assurances of technical and economic viability;
  • avoid counterproductive effects such as increasing production capacity.

Other measures

Member States may put in place various measures to encourage collective action to find and promote new market outlets for fishery and aquaculture products (e.g. quality certification schemes, labelling, promotion campaigns, market studies, trade fairs and exhibitions, sales advice and assistance, etc.).
Priority is to be given to encouraging the sale of surplus and under-exploited species, to developing a quality policy for products and to promoting environmentally-friendly production methods and those of officially-recognised organisations.

The Member States may also encourage operations carried out by producer organisations and fishermen’s associations and groups. These operations must be of collective interest and limited duration. They include the management of fishing effort, the use of technical measures for the conservation of resources, the promotion of selective gear and methods, aquaculture facilities, access to training, the improvement of working conditions and sanitary conditions for products, the establishment of new business contacts, etc.
In addition, producer organisations may receive aid during the three years following their setting up and special aid for implementing programmes to upgrade the quality of their products.

The Member States may provide for the means necessary to undertake innovative actions and technical assistance such as pilot projects (including exploratory fishing provided its aim is to conserve fishery resources), training programmes, exchanges of know-how, etc.

They may also grant compensation to fishermen and the owners of vessels for the temporary suspension of fishing as a result of:

  • unforeseen circumstances (based on scientific evidence);
  • the non-renewal or suspension of a fishing agreement;
  • the introduction of a recovery plan for a stock threatened with exhaustion or for the management of stocks (on the basis of scientific and economic evidence);
  • technical restrictions on the use of certain types of gear or fishing methods.

In the event of the contamination of shellfish by toxin-producing plankton or plankton containing marine biotoxins, the Member States may grant financial compensation to shellfish farmers if the situation requires the suspension of harvesting for more than four consecutive months or where the resulting losses exceed 35% of the annual turnover of the business.

Comitology

In implementing the Regulation, the Commission will be assisted by the Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Committee for the management of Fisheries and Aquaculture for fleet management measures.

Reference

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2792/1999 03.01.2000 OJ L 337 of 30.12.1999

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1451/2001 28.06.2001 OJ L 198 of 21.7.2001
Regulation (EC) No 179/2002 28.01.2002 OJ L 31 of 01.02.2002
Regulation (EC) No 2369/2002 20.12.2002 OJ L 358 of 31.12.2002
Regulation (EC) No 1421/2004 26.08.2004 OJ L 260 of 06.08.2004

Related Acts

DEROGATION

Council Regulation (EC) No 639/2004 of 30 March 2004 on the management of fishing fleets registered in the Community outermost regions
[Official Journal L 102 of 07.04.2004].


Given the importance of the fisheries sector in the outermost regions of the Community, this Regulation takes account of the specific structural, social and economic situation regarding the management of the fishing fleet in these regions.

IMPLEMENTING RULES

Council Regulation (EC) No 2561/2001 of 17 December 2001 aiming to promote the conversion of fishing vessels and of fishermen that were, up to 1999, dependent on the fishing agreement with Morocco [Official Journal L 344 of 28.12.2001].

Commission Regulation (EC) No 366/2001 of 22 February 2001 laying down detailed rules for implementing the measures provided for in Council Regulation (EC) No 2792/1999 [Official Journal L 055 of 24.02.2001].

Commission Regulation (EC) No 908/2000 of 2 May 2000 laying down detailed rules for calculating aid granted by Member States to producer organisations in the fisheries and aquaculture sector [Official Journal L 105 of 03.05.2000].

Council Regulation (EC) No 657/2000 of 27 March 2000 on closer dialogue with the fishing sector and groups affected by the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 080 of 31.03.2000].

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2092/98 of 30 September 1998 concerning the declaration of fishing effort relating to certain Community fishing areas and resources [Official Journal L 26 of 01.10.1998].

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2091/98 of 30 September 1998 concerning the segmentation of the Community fishing fleet and fishing effort in relation to the multiannual guidance programmes [Official Journal L 266 of 01.10.1998].