Committee To Probe CFP Delay –

Committee To Probe CFP Delay European Fish Trader Published:  07 May, 2002

MEP Struan Stevenson

THE controversial delay in the publication of the Common Fisheries Policy reform proposals will be the topic of concern for the European Parliament’s fisheries committee tomorrow.

The committee is set to tackle allegations of political interference by Spain in the reform process and look at the decision to replace Steffen Smidt, the director general of fisheries in the EC’s fisheries division.

Fisheries committee chairman, Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson, has said that the committee will undoubtedly request the presence of those closest to the issue; Spanish commissioner, Loyola de Palacio, as well as Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler.

Mr Stevenson has also warned that if it is clear that there was interference by the Spanish prime minister José Maria Aznar, who is currently the president of the European Council, and by Spanish commissioner Loyola de Palacio,there would be a full investigation.

Mr Stevenson added that while he could not anticipate the outcome of the meeting, it was imperative that the co-ordinators of the parliament’s political groups discuss the issues.

A spokesman for the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations said today that they shared their Scottish colleagues concern over the delay in publication of the reforms.And any delays simply prolonged uncertainties, despite assurances from the Commission of no political interference.