Conference opens on EU funding –

Conference opens on EU funding Published:  28 May, 2004

A two-day conference, organised by the European Commission to examine with stakeholders EU funding to fishing after 2006, opened its doors, in Bundoran, Ireland on 28 May 2004. The aim of this conference is to discuss the role that the future fisheries Fund should play in helping the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and in promoting the development of fishing areas during the next programming period 2007-2013. Around 350 representatives of the various branches of the fishing industry, national and regional administrations, consumer groups and other non-governmental organisations, as well as scientists and fisheries experts with an interest in the Common Fisheries Policy, are taking part in the conference.

“The future fisheries Fund must, first of all, facilitate the implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy to achieve sustainable fisheries which is the best guarantee for the future of the whole European fishing industry. It should also help realise the economic potential of coastal areas where fisheries play an important socio-economic role,” European Commissioner Sandra Kalniete said in her opening speech to the conference.

The current Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG), which provides financial support to fisheries and related activities in the EU, covers the programming period 2000-2006. An evaluation of the impact of FIFG programmes for the period 1994-1999, as well as a mid-term evaluation of the current programmes, will be presented to stakeholders. This will allow for a stock-taking exercise of the results of these funding actions so as to best shape the future Fund to the changing needs of the fishing industry.

Participants from both old and new Member States will also exchange views, experience and examples of good practice in coastal zone development, support to aquaculture, processing and marketing of marine products, reduction of the fleet and support for fisheries resource management.

The discussion will also focus on how to simplify the mechanisms for programming and granting EU financial aid and to increase subsidiarity so that aid is managed closer to the potential beneficiaries.