EU Member State Ministers met by video conference today for an informal AGRIFISH council meeting to discuss issues such as trilateral talks
Ministers touched upon a range of issues during the full day informal videoconference meeting: guidance on the start of the formal bilateral EU-UK consultations on setting definite fishing opportunities for 2021 (and for some stocks for 2022), the impact and perspectives of the latest trade developments on EU’s agricultural sector and the current state of play regarding the interinstitutional negotiations of the post-2020 Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform package.
The Portuguese presidency kicked-off the meeting with a presentation of its priorities: a main objective is the conclusion of the CAP reform negotiations in spring. The presidency also outlined other priorities in the agriculture area (rural development strategy, Council decision on sustainable use of pesticides, and agreeing EU’s priorities for the UN Food Systems Summit) and fisheries (agree main fishing opportunities with UK and Norway, complete regulation on the new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, and agree on a general approach on the revision of the Control System).
Ministers discussed their priorities for the start of the formal bilateral EU-UK consultations on setting definite fishing opportunities for 2021 for the jointly managed stocks (and, for deep-sea shared stocks, for 2021 and 2022). They also supported the presidency’s initial guidance to the European Commission who will be leading the consultations, emphasising the need to respect the principles of the common fisheries policy. An important priority for ministers was to provide certainty to the EU’s fishing communities as quickly as possible and promote the sector’s environmental, economic and social sustainability. Ministers also called for clarity and transparency from the European Commission while conducting the consultations; they highlighted the need to be fully informed and involved throughout the process and at different levels.
Some member states also raised concerns on Norway’s recent unilateral decision on quotas for some shared stocks, calling for the rapid conclusion of the EU-Norway negotiations on the fishing opportunities.
“The EU-UK consultations on fishing opportunities for 2021 is a historic exercise. It is the first time we will be implementing the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement. We want to set the right path for an agreement that puts sustainability at its heart and ensures the livelihood of our fishing communities,” said Ricardo Serrão Santos, Minister of the Sea of Portugal