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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
Fisheries under discussion in the Council on 21 June

Date of release : 21-06-2005

Policy area : Agriculture and Fisheries Agriculture and Fisheries

Event : Agriculture and Fisheries Council

EU Ministers responsible for fisheries policy could not reach an agreement on setting up a European Fisheries Fund during their meeting in Luxembourg on 21 June, despite the sterling work done in advance.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council could not find a solution to problems concerning fleet modernisation, help for young fishermen and the criteria determining eligibility for aid from the Fund.

Looking at aid for fleet modernisation, the delegations could not reconcile the principles for reform, adopted in 2002, stressing sustainability of the fishing industry and maintenance of fish stocks with the request from some Member States, especially the new ones, that aid for shipbuilding should be reintroduced and criteria for modernising the existing fleet made less restrictive.

Nonetheless, the President of the Council, Fernand Boden, asked the European Commissioner for Fisheries, Joe Borg, and the Committee of Permanent Representatives to continue their talks so that this regulatory tool important to the common fisheries policy can be completed.

An agreement could not be reached either on the regulation concerning fish stock management in the Mediterranean, due to the greatly differing positions held by the delegations.

The agenda for the second day of the final "Agriculture and Fisheries" Council held under the Luxembourg Presidency also included several points falling under Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel’s remit. A great many delegations have asked the Commission to "tie up" a complete package of measures to resolve the crisis affecting the cereals market following the unusually abundant harvests in some Member States which do not have a direct access to export ports. The delegations consider that the problem will probably worsen soon since a good harvest is expected in the next few weeks. For their part, Spain and Portugal reminded the Council that they are suffering from a drought. The Commission said that it wished to examine the possibility of financing the transfer of some of the stock to these countries.

The evening before, the Presidency reported on progress on the FLEGT agreement, which aims to stop trade in wood and wood products from trees felled illegally. The Presidency has focussed on the Commission’s negotiating directives in this matter, with a view to setting up partnership agreements with wood-exporting countries.

The Council also heard a report from the Presidency setting out progress on measures to combat avian influenza. Fernand Boden declared that "the proposal for a directive represents an undertaking to overhaul, consolidate and modernise Community legislation on preventing and combatting avian influenza. The proposal takes account of World Health Organisation recommendations." He added that, "a more flexible approach to vaccination will mean that the mass slaughter of poultry can be avoided and the socio-ethical attitudes of citizens to combatting epidemics can be taken into account".

Fernand Boden thanked the Council and the Commission for their assistance during the past six months before handing over to Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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This page was last modified on : 22-06-2005

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