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Informal Meeting of EU Directors-General Responsible for Fisheries

Slovenia today hosted the Informal Meeting of the EU Directors-General responsible for fisheries, the last meeting held in Slovenia during the Slovenian Presidency of the EU. The Directors-General discussed high fuel prices, which have a strong impact on the fisheries sector. The fishing fleet is greatly affected in that the cost of fuel can represent half or an even greater share of production costs.

On the initiative of the Slovenian Presidency, the EU Ministers discussed the impact of high fuel prices on the fisheries sector at the meeting of the EU Council for Agriculture and Fisheries, held Tuesday in Luxembourg. The European Commission pointed to the problem of structural imbalance between the size of the fishing fleet and sustainable levels of fishing opportunities, and presented possible measures for restructuring the fishing fleets in all Member States. The Commission takes the position that the Member States, the Commission and the fisheries sector should jointly form smaller fishing fleets. The fleets should be more fuel-efficient and conform better to the fishing opportunities available.

The Commission explained that the proposal of certain countries concerning assistance for fuel costs as a response to high prices was illegal and not the proper way to deal with the basic issue. In future, fuel prices are likely to continue to rise. Consequently, the majority of the EU Member States believe that short-term and non-targeted assistance would only put off resolving the issue of the fisheries sector and does not represent an appropriate solution.

For this reason, the Commission proposed a package of measures (short-term, medium-term and long-term) directed towards restructuring fishing fleets in the Member States. The Member States, on the other hand, call for simplification of rules and greater flexibility in implementing the basic Regulation on the European Fisheries Fund and in using European funds.


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Date: 30.06.2008