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Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR)

#CPMR disheartened by European Commission consultation on Cohesion Policy

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The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) is disheartened by the public consultation launched today (10 January) by the European Commission on 'EU funds in the area of Cohesion'.

The CPMR General Secretariat has prepared a ‘fact-checking’ briefing to set the record straight regarding the added value of Cohesion Policy.

The CPMR is deeply concerned that this consultation does not consult stakeholders on the future of Cohesion as a policy, but instead focuses on the so-called “EU funds in the area of Cohesion”, which also covers the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), the Fund for European Aid for the Most Deprived (FEAD) and the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme.

It is unnerving to note that this consultation will help prepare the legislative proposal for the future of Cohesion policy. This is one of many consultations launched today to feed in to the future of the EU budget for post-2020.

There are several disturbing elements in this consultation. First of all, there is a clear hint about the potential renationalisation (questions 33 and 34) of Cohesion policy, to which the CPMR strongly objects. Secondly, there is no reference at all to territorial cohesion or to a territorial dimension of Cohesion policy. Regions are only mentioned once and there are only two mentions of Cohesion policy.

CPMR Secretary General, Eleni Marianou said: “This is not the public consultation on Cohesion policy we were expecting. The way this consultation has been framed means it will result in a biased vision of what Cohesion policy is and what it should address. We fear that this questionnaire is misleading and poses a threat to the continuation of Cohesion policy.”

The consultation speaks of reducing regional disparities and underdevelopment exclusively “in certain EU regions”, without providing an explanation of why this will only occur in certain regions and what these regions are. It also mixes up treaty objectives, EU objectives and Cohesion policy thematic objectives, which fails to reflect the functions of Cohesion policy.

In addition, the consultation asks stakeholders to consider the success of programmes under shared management in addressing challenges, which are managed by Member States and/or regions. The CPMR reminds the Commission that Cohesion policy is the only EU policy focusing on results and accountability.

Lastly, the consultation states that the Structural Reform Support Programme contributes to achieving the objectives of Cohesion policy. There is no evidence of this contribution. The objective of this programme is to contribute to structural reforms, which is not an objective of Cohesion policy.

Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR)

Commission approves €720,000 Maltese scheme to support #BluefinTuna fishermen

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The European Commission has approved a €720,000 Maltese scheme to support self-employed Bluefin tuna fishermen that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants. The aid will be calculated based on the quota assigned by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture to Bluefin tuna fishermen in 2020.

The purpose of the scheme is to compensate the drop in the price of Bluefin tuna on the market and therefore help those fishermen to continue their activities after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Maltese scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the grants will not exceed €120,000 per beneficiary. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework.

On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57984 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR)

What's next for the future of oceans - EU launches consultation on #InternationalOceanGovernance

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The EU has launched a targeted consultation to assess development needs and options for the EU's International Ocean Governance Agenda. High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell said: “The protection of our oceans is a global challenge that requires a collective response. The European Union is doing its part and ready to do more. We are determined to continue to fulfil our responsibility towards our citizens and to work with partners across the world. We all want sustainable and healthy oceans and to improve their governance.”

Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius added: “The EU is fully committed to promoting ocean governance. We are a reliable partner in strengthening the international framework, a top donor in building capacity, a strong supporter of ocean science and a business partner for the sustainable ‘blue economy'. This consultation will help the EU to lead on delivering of global sustainability objectives for the ocean.”

The consultation aims to identify relevant actions in light of today's challenges and opportunities in delivering global sustainability objectives for oceans, in particular in support of the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Development Goal on the oceans (SDG14) under the 2030 Agenda.

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Commissioner Sinkevičius starts discussions on fishing opportunities for 2021 at #AgrifishCouncil

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Environment, Fisheries and Oceans Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius (pictured) presented on 29 June at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers videoconference the Commission's recent communication on sustainable fishing and orientations for 2021.

The debate with ministers started the new round of discussions and negotiations on fishing opportunities for the coming year. As also outlined in the Commission's Communication, this year is the year when fish stocks have to be managed in line with the maximum sustainable yield target, i.e. ensuring sustainable levels of fishing.

Thus, this will be the main objective in the proposals for the Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea stocks. Commissioner Sinkevičius also spoke to the ministers about the implementation of the landing obligation which despite being a win-win situation for fishermen and for the environment, remains a strong concern. On Brexit, he stressed that unity and a strong common position is needed to defend EU's interests.

Finally, the Commissioner talked to ministers about the bycatch of dolphins, porpoises and other protected species. EU legislation, both nature and fisheries rules, already offers all necessary tools to member states and in particular for the regions to tackle this problem effectively. In addition, the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 underlines the need to eliminate bycatch of species threatened with extinction or to reduce it to a level that allows their full recovery. A press statement by Commissioner Sinkevičius is available here.

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