CFP Briefing No 1


On 28 May 2002, the Commission finally came forward with the first of its longawaited proposals for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The proposals – the subject of intense speculation over the last few months – set out an ambitious reform agenda, particularly given the strong resistance to substantial change that has been expressed by several EU Member States. These first proposals are to be followed later in the year by a number of other Commission communications and action plans.

The first package includes three legislative proposals and two non-binding documents. Amongst these is the so-called ‘Roadmap’ (COM(2002)181) setting out the Commission’s overall approach, based on an analysis of the problems facing the fishing sector. This first set of documents unveils the overall strategy and is likely to be the most controversial, not least because it includes a proposed new basic CFP regulation. The proposals will now be examined at the next Council of Fisheries Ministers meeting on 11 June 2002. If agreement can be reached among the Member States later in the year, the new basic CFP regulation will enter into force in 2003.

Further reports and action plans are expected during the course of 2002 and 2003, bringing the total number of reform documents due from the Commission to 18. They will relate to conservation of fish stocks in the Mediterranean, fishing on the high seas and under fisheries agreements with third countries, control and enforcement, aquaculture and the impact of fleet restructuring on coastal areas.

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