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EU, Norway and the United Kingdom conclude key fisheries arrangements on North Sea

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The trilateral arrangement on jointly managed fisheries stocks in the North Sea for 2021 establishes the total allowable catches (TAC) and quota sharing covering over 636,000 tonnes of fish. In parallel, the EU and Norway have concluded bilateral consultations for the shared stocks in the North Sea, Skagerrak and quota exchanges.

Following the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU, the three parties met for the first time in January this year in a trilateral format to agree on the management of key shared stocks in the North Sea. After two months of negotiations, the three parties signed today an agreement, allowing for the joint management of the following stocks: cod, haddock, saithe, whiting, plaice and herring. The agreement on quotas for 5 out of these 6 stocks have been set at maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels, in line with the scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). This results in quota reductions in 2021 for saithe    (-25%), plaice (-2.3%) and herring (-7.4%), but increases in haddock (+20%) and whiting (+19%). Concerning the North Sea, Skagerrak and Eastern Channel cod stocks, the EU had advocated for a decrease of the total allowable catches by 16.5% for 2021. The negotiations resulted in a 10% decrease (i.e. a TAC of 15,911 tonnes) – a slightly less ambitious outcome than the EU had worked for. The parties agreed to continue implementing a range of additional measures, to protect adult and juvenile cod, such as area closures. The EU will also continue to implement its specific control and inspection programme to further reduce catches of younger stock.

The three parties have also agreed to cooperate on monitoring, control and surveillance, organised in a trilateral setting for the first time.

Today, the EU and Norway also signed three bilateral agreements relating to the quota exchanges and reciprocal access in the North Sea. Both parties have renewed the arrangement on reciprocal access for the jointly managed stocks in the North Sea. In addition, they agreed that for pelagic stocks the EU will have access to catch its quota of Norwegian Spring spawning herring in Norwegian waters, while in the case of blue whiting there will be reciprocal access to waters of the other party to catch up to 141,648 tonnes. The other main pillar of this arrangement covers quota exchanges of major economic interest to both sides, including 10,274 tonnes of Arctic cod for the EU and 37,500 tonnes of blue whiting for Norway, among many others.

The second bilateral arrangement relates to the setting of the total allowable catches (TACs) and quota sharing for Skagerrak and Kattegat for cod, haddock, whiting, plaice, pandalus, herring and sprat, as well as the bilateral reciprocal access in the area. Finally, the parties also signed the neighbouring arrangement covering the Swedish fishery in Norwegian waters of the North Sea.

The agreements reached today will enable the much anticipated restart of the EU's fishing operations in Norwegian waters, and vice-versa, which had been partially discontinued since 31 December 2020.

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Agreed records for jointly managed fish stocks in the North Sea

EU

7th EU-Kazakhstan High-Level Business Platform focused on transition to low-carbon and green technologies

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The EU-Kazakhstan High-Level Platform of dialogue on economic and business matters (Business Platform) held its 7th meeting in Nur-Sultan on 11 June, chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin.

The event brought together representatives of business and EU Heads of Mission led by the Ambassador of the EU to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Sven-Olov Carlsson. Visiting EU Special Representative for Central Asia Ambassador Peter Burian joined the event.

The High-level Business Platform complements the technical dialogue between the EU and Kazakhstan within the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, in particular the Cooperation Committee in Trade Configuration, which took place in October 2020.  

The EU has committed to climate neutrality by 2050 and is fully translating the implementation of the Paris Agreement into legislation. Ambitious targets and decisive actions demonstrate that EU is and will remain to be a global leader in the transition to green economy. The climate challenge is inherently global, the EU is only responsibly for approximately 10% of all global Greenhouse Gas emissions. The EU expects from its partners to share a comparable level of ambition to fight climate change and is ready to deepen co-operation with Kazakhstan in this area, including exploring new opportunities for trade and investment.

The recent EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council welcomed the progress made in the framework of the Business Platform chaired by the Prime Minister Mamin. The Platform acknowledges the importance of the EU in Kazakhstan's external trade, and discussions on a range of issues contribute to attract more investment in Kazakhstan.

Background Information

The EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), fully in force from 1 March 2020, aims at creating a better regulatory environment for businesses in areas such as trade in services, establishment and operation of companies, capital movements, raw materials and energy, intellectual property rights. It is a tool of regulatory convergence between Kazakhstan and the EU, with some “WTO plus” provisions, notably on public procurement. Even in a year as difficult as 2020, the EU has consolidated its position as Kazakhstan’s first trade partner and first foreign investor, and Kazakhstan remains the main trade partner of the EU in Central Asia. Total EU-Kazakhstan trade reached €18.6 billion in 2020, with EU imports worth €12.6bn and EU exports €5.9bn. The EU is by far Kazakhstan's first trading partner overall, representing 41% of total Kazakh exports.

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Belgium

Iranian Opposition rally in front of US embassy in Brussels to ask US and EU for a firm policy towards Iranian regime

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Following the G7 summit in London, Brussels hosts the NATO summit with US and EU leaders. It is the first trip of President Joe Biden outside the US. Meanwhile, the Iran deal negotiations have started in Vienna and despite the international efforts to return Iran and the US to compliance with the JCPOA, Iranians regime showed no interest to return to its commitments under JCPOA context. In the recent IAEA report, important concerns have been raised that the Iranian regime failed to address.

The Iranian diaspora, supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Belgium, held a rally today (14 June) in front of the US embassy in Belgium. They held posters and banners with the picture of Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian opposition movement who has declared a non-nuclear Iran in her 10-point plan for the free and democratic Iran.

In their posters and slogans, Iranians asked the US and the EU to work harder to hold the mullahs’ regime accountable for its human rights violations too. The protesters emphasized the need for a decisive policy by the US and the European countries to harness the mullahs’ quest for a nuclear bomb, stepped up repression at home, and terrorist activities abroad.

According to the new IAEA report, despite the previous agreement, the clerical regime refuses to answer IAEA questions on four disputed sites and (to kill time) has postponed further talks until after its presidential election. According to the report, the regime's enriched uranium reserves have reached 16 times the limit allowed in the nuclear deal. The production of 2.4 kg of 60% enriched uranium and about 62.8kg of 20% enriched uranium are of grave concern.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi said: Despite agreed terms, “After many months, Iran has not provided the necessary explanation for the presence of the nuclear material particles…We are facing a country that has an advanced and ambitious nuclear program and is enriching Uranium very close to weapons-grade level.”

Grossi’s remarks, also reported by Reuters today, reiterated: “The lack of clarification of the agency’s questions regarding the accuracy and integrity of Iran’s Safeguard Declaration will seriously affect the agency’s ability to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”

Maryam Rajavi (pictured), the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said that the recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the remarks by its Director-General once again show that to guarantee its survival, the clerical regime has not abandoned its atomic bomb project. It also shows that to buy time, the regime has continued its policy of secrecy to mislead the international community. At the same time, the regime is blackmailing its foreign interlocutors into lifting sanctions and ignoring its missile programs, export of terrorism, and criminal meddling in the region.

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Brexit

Ex-EU Brexit negotiator Barnier: UK reputation at stake in Brexit row

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Head of the Task Force for Relations with the UK, Michel Barnier attendsthe debate on EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement during the second day of a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium April 27, 2021. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS

Michel Barnier, the European Union's former Brexit negotiator, said on Monday (14 June) that the reputation of the United Kingdom was at stake regarding tensions over Brexit.

EU politicians have accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of not respecting engagements made regarding Brexit. Growing tensions between Britain and the EU threatened to overshadow the Group of Seven summit on Sunday, with London accusing France of "offensive" remarks that Northern Ireland was not part of the UK. Read more

"The United Kingdom needs to pay attention to its reputation," Barnier told France Info radio. "I want Mr Johnson to respect his signature," he added.

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