Last night we had very hard and long negotiations: EU Member States have different fishing traditions, diverse fleet compositions and fishing patterns and it was difficult to rally a broad majority in support for the Irish Presidency compromise.
The Council took a step forward after June’s general approach. Now we have a lot of solutions for the technical problems, facilitating the landing of all catches and the cooperation with our fishermen in all Member States. This is important for all of us to move to the reality of the new fisheries policy, for a real discard ban, with a clear and binding timetable and covering all species: this is a cornerstone of the reform.
Still, the Commission’s original proposal is more ambitious and I look forward to starting the negotiations with the Council and the European Parliament: the Commission stands ready to fully play its role in that context, to achieve the most ambitious outcome.
I am fully aware of Member States’ concerns: I will facilitate by all means at my disposal the possibility of helping them to adjust the fleet to the new needs and support the industry to adapt and implement the change, as we are already doing, for instance, with the “50% pilot project” to eliminate discards in the English Channel.
I look forward to a better future for our fisheries: the new policy will be there very soon!