EU-SSF CFP reform
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EU CFP Reform

The reform of the European Union’s (EU) Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is a once in ten-year event. The current reform process is the third such in the entire history of the CFP, created in 1983, and reviewed in 1992 and 2002.  The European Commission initiated a public consultation in April 2009, which was launched with the publication of the European Commission’s Green Paper on CFP Reform.  Although the public consultation closed on December 31 2009, the reform process will extend up to 2013.

The CFP reform process is complex, involving decision taking by various institutions at EU, Regional and National level, at different times. At the same time, several of the component policies of the CFP will be reformed in parallel (as is the case for the Common organization of the markets for fish products – that includes the role of PO). Some regulations, like the Control Regulation, are already being reformed. The reformed CFP will take effect on 1 January 2013.

Which European bodies are involved in the process?

The Commission has been organizing a european wide consultation process on issues arising in the reform process. This process took place through the Green Paper consultation (which was open for contributions until 31 December 2009) and through specific consultations with stakeholders and with European bodies dealing with fisheries (such as the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Commission, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament and the Regional Advisory Councils). For more information on the consultation process, and an overview of the various submissions, see the "Have your Say" page.

It is important to note that the role of the European Parliament has become more important, through the co-decision procedure where the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament take decisions together. It may affect subsequent steps of the reform process.

National fisheries authorities are also discussing the reform process through the Council of Fisheries Ministers, with the important role of the revolving Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Over the reform period from now up to 2012, the following Member States will preside: 2011 – Hungary then Poland; 2012 – Denmark then Cyprus.

Where are we at?

After having completed a broader assessment of the impact of the reform, DG Mare released its proposals' "package" on the 13 July 2011.

It consists of five parts:

  1. An overarching Commission Communication, explaining the content of the proposals and highlighting the Commission’s ideas those areas which will not be part of the proposed legal instruments, eg. Plans to improve scientific advice.
  2. A Communication on the reformed international dimension of the CFP covering international organisations, Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and Fisheries Partnership Agreements.
  3. The proposal with the basic framework for the functioning of the CFP.
  4. A proposal to reform the market policy, addressing sector organisation and the role of producer organisations, to improve the management of fisheries and aquaculture activities and the marketing of fisheries and aquaculture products. It will include a labelling system.
  5. A proposal for a new financial instrument to support the new Integrated Maritime Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy and aquaculture.

You can have a look at some initial reactions to the package on our "Online resources" page.

Given the new powers of the European Parliament under the Lisbon Treaty through co-decision, the package is now in the hands of the European Parliament and of the Council of Ministers. In the EP, the Fisheries Committee will amend and vote the legal proposal (possibly at the start of 2012) before it goes to Plenary vote (possibly in mid-2012). The final reform package must be negotiated and agreed by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, a process which is as yet untried.