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Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, President of EAPO, has urged an extension of Brexit Compensation Scheme amid administrative delays

“After massive quota losses, we now risk losing compensation worth millions due to EU red tape and administrative delays.”

European Union fishermen are facing the risk of losing millions in compensation as administrative hurdles and EU red tape impede the allocation of funds from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR).

The Brexit-related financial turmoil experienced by fishermen and related industries necessitates the swift distribution of funds from the BAR, but bureaucratic delays pose a threat to the full utilisation of the allocated funds.

Before the end of 2023, EU Member States are required to allocate funds from their BAR national envelopes to support fishermen affected by Brexit. However, the approval of national BAR plans and payouts has been hindered by administrative delays and EU red tape, potentially resulting in unutilised funds reverting to the general EU budget.

The European Association of fish Producers Organisations (EAPO) expresses deep disappointment at the European Commission’s refusal to consider extending the reference period for the BAR, which would allow for the full utilisation of the funds. The decision exacerbates the challenges faced by the fishing sector, which has already borne a significant toll due to Brexit.

Originally earmarked at over €400 million for the fishing sector, the BAR funds are crucial for mitigating the adverse effects of Brexit. In a letter addressed to Commissioner Sinkevičius in September 2023, EAPO members highlighted the underutilisation of BAR funds and requested an extension of the reference period beyond December 31, 2023. However, the Commission’s response, received on October 19, 2023, dismissed the idea of an extension, leading to concerns that unallocated funds may be redirected away from the fishing sector.

Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, President of EAPO, emphasised the urgency of the situation, stating:

“The Brexit Adjustment Reserve was invented to mitigate the adverse effects of Brexit. Limiting its full use cannot be acceptable for a sector that bore the costs of the Brexit deal. Fishing quotas allocated from EU fishers to UK fishers is costing the industry 180 million Euros every year. Fishers are left out of the support they urgently require to sustain their livelihoods and their communities. Fishers are not asking for an increase in support; they only request more time to secure full uptake of the funds.”

The fishing sector continues to grapple with the aftermath of Brexit, marked by the loss of fishing quotas and increasing policy divergence between the EU and the UK. With the adjustment period scheduled to conclude on June 30, 2026, the full extent of Brexit’s impact on the EU fishing sector is yet to be realised.

 

Source: Press Release

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