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Fisheries: Subsidies

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) the Scottish Executive, (b) the Welsh Assembly Government and (c) the Northern Ireland Executive on the UK Operational Programme for the European Fisheries Fund priorities; when he expects the draft Operational Programme to be ready for consultation; and if he will make a statement; (157247)

(2) if he will make a statement on the progress of the UK Operational Programme for the European Fisheries Fund.

Officials from the four fisheries administrations in the UK are currently working on the draft UK Operational Programme which will set out our proposals for the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) funding priorities. We aim to consult with fishermen and other stakeholders on the Operational Programme in early 2008.

We cannot finalise the draft programme until agreement is reached on the split of the EFF budget between the devolved Administrations. The UK budget split was discussed by devolved Fisheries Ministers on 5 October without resolution. I am continuing to seek a resolution and, if necessary, will do so through the dispute resolution procedures set out in the devolution agreements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much European Fisheries Fund funding is available to the fishing industry in the UK over the period January 2007 to December 2013; how much has already been paid to the UK fishing industry, broken down by (a) licensing district and (b) sector; and if he will make a statement. (157248)

The UK portion of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) budget is €137.8 million (approx. £96 million), of which €43 million (approx. £30 million) is for convergence areas and €94.7 million (approx. £66 million) is for non-convergence areas (in current prices).

No EFF payments have been made in the UK to date. Payments cannot be made until the UK has finalised its Operational Programme and received approval of the programme from the Commission.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the size of the European Fisheries Fund for the period January 2007 to December 2013 is in (a) euros and (b) pounds sterling; and how much is being allocated to each country. (157249)

The European Fisheries Fund has a budget of €3,849 million (approximately £2,665 million) for the period 2007-13 (2004 prices). This equates to €4,387 million (approximately £3,038 million) in current prices.

The amount allocated to each country is set out in the following table:

Allocation of EFF to each country in 2004 prices

Euros

Member state

Convergence

Non-convergence

Total

Austria

167,228

4,500,253

4,667,481

Belgium

23,301,312

23,301,312

Bulgaria

70,406,358

70,406,358

Cyprus

17,500,989

17,500,989

Czech Republic

24,003,691

24,003,691

Denmark

118,606,682

118,606,682

Estonia

74,632,182

74,632,182

Finland

35,001,972

35,001,972

France

30,389,485

161,309,090

191,698,575

Germany

86,073,715

52,352,951

138,426,666

Greece

157,293,830

27,501,551

184,795,381

Hungary

30,399,339

496,000

30,895,339

Ireland

37,502,115

37,502,115

Italy

282,489,352

94,105,302

376,594,654

Latvia

110,369,814

110,369,814

Lithuania

48,418,135

48,418,135

Malta

7,435,476

7,435,476

Netherlands

43,102,430

43,102,430

Poland

651,791,012

651,791,012

Portugal

198,766,492

20,001,128

218,767,620

Romania

202,556,179

202,556,179

Slovakia

11,242,552

892,801

12,135,353

Slovenia

19,330,990

19,330,990

Spain

840,215,806

165,209,310

1,005,425,116

Sweden

48,502,732

48,502,732

United Kingdom

38,335,019

84,004,734

122,339,753

Technical assistance

30,791,993

Total (in euros)

2,884,316,655

933,891,352

3,849,000,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the UK Operational Programme containing the UK priorities for the European Fisheries Fund will be scrutinised by the European Commission; how long he expects this process to last; and if he will make a statement. (157250)

The European Commission (EC) will appraise the proposed Operational Programme to determine whether it contributes to the objectives set out in Article 4, the guiding principles set out in Article 19 and the relevant part of the National Strategic Programme. The EC will take into account the ex ante evaluation referred to in Article 48 of the European Fisheries Fund Regulations (1198/2006).

If within two months following receipt of a member state's proposed Operational Programme, the EC considers that the programme is not consistent with the above factors, it may ask the member state to provide additional information. Where appropriate, the EC will ask the member state to adapt the proposed Operational Programme accordingly and re-submit it for approval.

Thereafter, the member state shall submit its Operational Programme to the EC which shall adopt a decision approving it as soon as possible, but no later than four months after the re-submission.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funding priorities he has identified for the allocation of grants from the European Fisheries Fund for the period January 2007 to December 2013; and if he will make a statement. (157251)

The European Fisheries Fund identifies priority axes for funding which, for England, have been provisionally classified as follows:

Priority axis—England

Priority axis

1.

Adaptation of the Community fishing fleet

Low priority

(e.g. decommissioning and other fleet restructuring/effort management measures as well as skills development, retraining for alternative occupations and early retirement. Also vessel modernisation and engine replacement).

Target: more stocks within safe biological limits year by year, during 2007-13.

2.

Aquaculture, inland fishing, processing and marketing of fisheries and aquaculture products

Low priority

(e.g. investment in aquaculture, inland fishing, and processing and marketing. Consideration is given to the environment, safety, working conditions and both public and animal health).

Target: to increase profitability and sustainability and improve environmental standards in the UK aquaculture sector between 2007-13.

3.

Measures of common benefit

High priority

(e.g. measures of common interest with a broader scope than those normally undertaken by private enterprises. So this can include protection and development of the marine environment, promotion of port facilities, new markets and pilot projects including partnerships between scientists and industry. Also covered are improving quality, promoting more selective fishing methods and upgrading skills).

(Emphasis on marine protection and partnership projects rather than capital works).

Target: to encourage responsible fishing that helps to safeguard the marine environment.

4.

Sustainable development of fisheries areas

Medium priority

(e.g. assistance for the sustainable development of fisheries areas and improvements to the quality of life in such areas. Areas eligible for funding are being selected and have to implement a local strategy which seeks to implement the objectives of the CFP taking particular account of socio-economic effects. Funding can support measures taken to maintain economic and social prosperity, develop jobs, promote the coastal environment and promote co-operation between fisheries areas).

(Measures under axis 1-3 are applicable under axis 4 for the selected fishing areas and for Convergence areas will be given a high priority).

Target: employment diversification in fishing areas consistent with regional policy priorities.

These will be finalised in light of responses to the consultation on the draft UK Operational Programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a statement on the UK Strategic Plan in relation to the European Fisheries Fund for the period January 2007 to December 2013. (157252)

The UK National Strategic Plan for Fisheries describes the UK fisheries sector and UK objectives and priorities for fisheries between 2007 and 2013. It covers catching, aquaculture, inland fishing, processing and marketing. The UK has to draft this document to demonstrate to the European Commission that it has clear strategic objectives for managing fisheries and on which to base its priorities under the European Fisheries Fund.

We are planning to submit the UK National Strategic Plan to the European Commission as soon as possible, pending its finalisation.