During a brief informal videoconference, fisheries ministers exchanged views on EU-UK consultations on setting fishing opportunities for 2021, and, for deep-sea stocks, for 2021 and 2022. The session kicked-off with the European Commission informing ministers on the current state of play and referring to the progress made after the first two rounds of the EU-UK consultations; it also briefly presented its proposal for a Council decision on the position to be taken on behalf of the EU for these consultations.
Ministers thanked the Commission for the close and good cooperation so far, emphasising the need to continue at the same pace. Ministers also unanimously expressed their strong support for a swift conclusion of the negotiations. They reiterated their request for an agreement that guarantees a level-playing field between the EU and UK fishing fleets and respects the three of pillars of the Common Fisheries Policy: social, environment and economy.
We are all on the same boat when it comes to the objectives of the EU-UK negotiations on fishing opportunities: we want to ensure a clear, sustainable and balanced framework that will benefit our fishermen, consumers and seas.
Ricardo Serrão Santos, Minister of the Sea of Portugal
During the meeting, several delegations expressed their support for a swift conclusion of the EU-Norway negotiations, allowing European fleets into Norwegian waters.
In February 2021, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Council decision concerning the position to be taken (on behalf of the EU) in the bilateral consultations. This position is based on the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy, including socio-economic aspects, basing decisions on the best available scientific advice, ensuring a level playing field, and ensuring respect for international obligations. The Portuguese presidency will now consolidate comments, provided by the member states, into a compromise proposal of the Council, aiming for a swift adoption in early March (by written procedure).
Any other business
The Spanish delegation informed ministers on the preparation for the 7th Round of negotiations for the renewal of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) of the EU with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Several delegations supported the plea to the European Commission to finalise the negotiations as soon as possible.
-22 February 2021