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Seas and Oceans: EU Action

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he and his predecessors had with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the likely impact of the (a) proposed European Constitution and (b) Lisbon Treaty on (i) fisheries, (ii) the marine environment and (iii) marine biological resources; and if he will make a statement. (190469)

Since the new provisions are designed only to confirm existing Community powers as they relate to the common fisheries policy, I have not seen the need to undertake any substantive discussions with colleagues in other Government Departments. Experience in areas already subject to co-decision has shown that proposals can be improved. The additional scrutiny and debate in the European Parliament will offer new opportunities for the UK and other member states to secure better regulation. We have a lot of experience of dealing with the European Parliament and we will certainly draw on this—and our good reputation—when it comes to engaging with them on fisheries. But this will not apply to all aspects of the CFP, in particular the setting of annual catch limits, which will continue to remain the exclusive preserve of the Commission and member states acting in concert.