Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture: “Fishing stability is a very significant factor for viability and development of coastal regions”
Monday June 29, Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture participated in an informal videoconference of the EU Council of Ministers for Agriculture and Fishery, where the Ministers from Member States spoke about the European Commission’s layout of the current situation in the common fishery policy (CFP) as well as they discussed principles for defining of fishing opportunities for 2021.
The Ministers also assessed the progress report on Regulations of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, prepared by Croatia, currently holding the Presidency of the EU Council. On July 1, Germany will take over the Croatian Presidency of the EU Council for the second half a year.
It is planned to apply scientific recommendations to the EU common admissible catch, maximum sustainability principles and conditions of multiannual management plans of fish resources. Latvia emphasizes that in the future, upon making decisions on measures aimed at improvement of the situation in fisheries, including conservation of fish stocks, socio-economic impact of such measures must be very seriously assessed. Particularly, when drastic measures are adopted on the common admissible catch and quotas, which would considerably limit the fishing. However, if drastic measures must be adopted then simultaneously, adequate instruments must be provided for an effective remedy or avoidance of critical situations.
Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture: “We call the German Presidency, in cooperation with the Commission and the European Parliament, to act immediately so that amendments to the European Maritime and Fishery Fund for 2014-2020 linked to laying down the ban on cod catch In the Baltic Sea, could be adopted as soon as possible. But upon making decisions on catch quotas and fishing restrictions, not to forget about economic impact of these decisions on fishermen. Fishing stability is a very significant factor for viability and development of coastal region.”
Decisions on fishing opportunities (catch quotas) for 2021, the EU Council of Ministers for Agriculture and Fishery will make in October 2020 (on the Baltic Sea) and in December (on other water basins, available for fishermen of the EU Member States).
The Croatian Presidency has come forward with several proposals for Regulations on CAP reform. In Latvia’s opinion Regulations on CAP reform must be adopted as soon as possible as the current period will end already in the year 2020.
“In our opinion, in the next programming period of the Common Agricultural Policy, an external convergence of direct payments must be accomplished, ensuring that Latvian farmers receive the direct payments equal to the EU average level,” emphasized Kaspars Gerhards.
In relation to coherence of CAP reform with the strategy “Farm to fork” and Biodiversity strategy, Latvia considers that the schedule of preparing recommendations, planned by COM, does not comply with preparing of CAP strategic plans. This work has already been started and it will considerably delay a timely development and implementation of CAP strategic plans that also jeopardizes the work already done by Member States toward the development of future policy.
At the same time, there are several points in CAP draft Regulations, where we must achieve conditions, conforming to Latvia’s interests. EU Member States must be allowed to decide themselves which sectors to support by means of conjoined support financing. Just as Latvia does not support the COM proposal to reduce the funding for School milk and School fruit programs.
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