The final AGRIFISH Council meeting of 2021 will take place on Sunday 12 and Monday 13 December in Brussels
The final Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of the year will take place on Sunday 12 and Monday 13 December in Brussels.
The meeting will be chaired by the Slovenian Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Jože Podgoršek. The European Commission will be represented by the Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, and the Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski.
On Sunday the meeting will start at 10.00 and will be devoted to fisheries. Following the adoption of ‘A’ items, ministers will discuss fishing opportunities for 2022 in EU and non-EU waters, particularly the Atlantic, North Sea, Mediterranean and Black Sea for 2022. This will be followed by other business items on the fisheries control regulation and EMFAF. The morning session will end at around midday on Sunday. Trilateral negotiations on fishing opportunities will take place in parallel to the main meeting, and will continue on Sunday afternoon.
Ministers will reconvene on Monday at 10.00 to provide an update on the fisheries negotiations, following which the Commission will give a presentation on the new law to reduce food imports associated with deforestation. This will be followed by an information point from the Danish delegation on keel bone fractures in laying hens. In the afternoon, the Council will seek to adopt conclusions on the contingency plan for food security, and a policy debate will take place on unfair trading practices in the food supply chain. The second day of the meeting will conclude with other business items on the CAP strategic plans, the pigmeat sector, the rising cost of agricultural inputs, exports to China and the BIOEAST initiative. A press conference with Mr Podgoršek and Mr Wojciechowski, will take place on Monday evening.
The fisheries negotiations for 2022 will continue in parallel to the meeting. Once an agreement has been reached, the results will be announced via a press conference with Mr Podgoršek and Mr Sinkevičius
Fishing opportunities for 2022
Ministers will seek to reach a political agreement on fishing rights for 2022 in EU and non-EU waters, and particularly the Atlantic, the North Sea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea2 . In December each year the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meets to set the following year’s catch limits – also known as total allowed catches (TACs) – for most commercial fish stocks, along with national quotas for each species. The stocks concerned are those the EU manages on its own, jointly with neighbouring non-EU countries, or via agreements reached under the regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs). The Council’s decision is based on a proposal drawn up by the European Commission, taking into account the best available scientific advice, the aims of the common fisheries policy (CFP) and the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) set for each species.
The presidency will update ministers on the state of play of negotiations with the Parliament on the revision of the fisheries control system.
The aim of fisheries control in the EU is to ensure that the rules of the common fisheries policy (CFP) are correctly enforced, thus providing a sustainable source of healthy food to European citizens while also protecting the environment and safeguarding the livelihoods of fishing communities. Control measures include:
- restricting and monitoring access to waters (e.g. via fishing licences)
- regulating the size and engine power of fishing boats • technical measures (e.g. rules on which fishing gears can be used)
- recording the number and kinds of fish caught by EU fishing fleets
In 2018, the European Commission submitted a proposal to revise the EU fisheries control system. The overall aim of this proposal is to simplify the system, make it more effective and efficient and ensure full compliance with the reformed CFP.
European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF)
The Commission will outline the main aims of the EMFAF fund and encourage member states to develop a long-term investment strategy that will ensure the funds are used effectively.
The EMFAF, which will run from 2021 to 2027, has a budget of 6 billion euros and provides financial support for projects under the common fisheries policy (CFP), the EU maritime policy and the EU agenda for international ocean governance. Its aim is to support initiatives that help ensure marine resources are used more sustainably, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal.