General Market

Report – 2016 discharge: European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) – A8-0107/2018 – Committee on Budgetary Control

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2016(2017/2166(DEC))The European Parliament,–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Fisheries Co…

General Market

Report – 2015 discharge: European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) – A8-0100/2017 – Committee on Budgetary Control

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2015

(2016/2181(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2015,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2015, together with the Agency’s reply(1),

–  having regard to the statement of assurance(2) as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors for the financial year 2015, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 21 February 2017 on discharge to be given to the Agency in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2015 (05873/2017 – C8-0067/2017),

–  having regard to Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(3), and in particular Article 208 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 768/2005 of 26 April 2005 establishing a Community Fisheries Control Agency and amending Regulation (EEC) No 2847/93 establishing a control system applicable to the common fisheries policy(4), and in particular Article 36 thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1271/2013 of 30 September 2013 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 208 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(5), and in particular Article 108 thereof,

–  having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex IV to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0100/2017),

1.  Grants the Executive Director of the European Fisheries Control Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency’s budget for the financial year 2015;

2.  Sets out its observations in the resolution below;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this decision, and the resolution forming an integral part of it, to the Executive Director of the European Fisheries Control Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

2. PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DECISION

on the closure of the accounts of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2015

(2016/2181(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the final annual accounts of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2015,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2015, together with the Agency’s reply(6),

–  having regard to the statement of assurance(7) as to the reliability of the accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions provided by the Court of Auditors for the financial year 2015, pursuant to Article 287 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council’s recommendation of 21 February 2017 on discharge to be given to the Agency in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2015 (05873/2017 – C8-0067/2017),

–  having regard to Article 319 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(8), and in particular Article 208 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 768/2005 of 26 April 2005 establishing a Community Fisheries Control Agency and amending Regulation (EEC) No 2847/93 establishing a control system applicable to the common fisheries policy(9), and in particular Article 36 thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1271/2013 of 30 September 2013 on the framework financial regulation for the bodies referred to in Article 208 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council(10), and in particular Article 108 thereof,

–  having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex IV to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0100/2017),

1.  Approves the closure of the accounts of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2015;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Executive Director of the European Fisheries Control Agency, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors, and to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (L series).

3. MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

with observations forming an integral part of the decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2015

(2016/2181(DEC))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2015,

–  having regard to Rule 94 of and Annex IV to its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0100/2017),

A.  whereas, according to its financial statements, the final budget of the European Fisheries Control Agency (the “Agency”) for the financial year 2015 was EUR 9 217 000, representing no change compared to the previous year; whereas the entire budget of the Agency derives from the Union budget;

B.  whereas the Court of Auditors (the “Court”) has stated that it has obtained reasonable assurances that the Agency’s annual accounts for the financial year 2013 are reliable and that the underlying transactions are legal and regular;

C.  whereas in the context of the discharge procedure, the discharge authority stresses the special importance of further strengthening the democratic legitimacy of the institutions of the Union by improving transparency and accountability, implementing the concept of performance-based budgeting and good governance of human resources;

Budget and financial management

1.  Notes that budget monitoring efforts during the financial year 2015 resulted in a budget implementation rate of 99,59 %, attaining the Agency’s target and representing an increase of 0,50 % compared to 2014; notes furthermore that the payment appropriations execution rate was at 92,24 %, attaining the Agency’s target and representing an increase of 3,81 % compared to 2014;

2.  Welcomes the implementation of the e-Prior modules for electronic tendering, ordering and invoicing in cooperation with the Commission’s Directorate-General for Informatics (DG DIGIT); notes that the implemented modules were to be progressively used in 2016, leading to an increase in electronic workflows, and subsequently greater efficiency, reliability of the data and audit trail; calls on the Agency to report to the discharge authority on efficiencies gained after the modules’ implementation;

3.  Notes with satisfaction that the Agency made all of its payments within the time-limits provided for in Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012, resulting in no interest being charged by suppliers for late payments; notes furthermore that the average number of days for payment in 2015 was 20;

4.  Notes that the effective budget cuts imposed on the Agency impaired its ability to fulfil its objective of organising operational coordination of control and inspection activities of the Member States in order to ensure the effective and uniform application of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy;

5.  Draws attention to the importance of the Agency’s role in implementing the reformed Common Fisheries Policy and in achieving the objectives thereof, particularly in the light of the landing obligation and demands in terms of the monitoring, control and surveillance of fisheries activities; stresses that it is therefore desirable to evaluate the possibility of increasing appropriations for the Agency’s operations in future years;

6.  Regrets that the reduction of the Agency’s resources and capacity may have as a consequence the weakening of fisheries controls and a concomitant increase in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, to the detriment of the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the sector;

7.  Points out that the new migration policy of the Union and, in particular, the creation of the European Border and Coast Guard, as part of an overall improvement in coast guard functions, entail new tasks of inspection and better cooperation for the Agency, which will require increased funding and technical and human resources;

Commitments and carryovers

8.  Welcomes the fact that the level of funds carried forward from 2015 to 2016 decreased from 11 % to 7 % compared to 2014; notes that the rate of carryovers for Title II (administrative expenditure) was at 20 %, representing a decrease of 5 % compared to 2014 results; notes that the rate of carryovers for Title III (operational expenditure) was at 20 %, representing a decrease of 10 % compared to the level in 2014; notes moreover that carryovers may often be partly or fully justified by the multiannual nature of the agencies’ operational programmes, and do not necessarily indicate weaknesses in budget planning and implementation, nor are they always at odds with the budgetary principle of annuality, in particular if they are planned in advance by the Agency and communicated to the Court;

9.  Notes that the Agency further reduced the rate of cancelled commitments carried forward from the year 2014 to 3,45 %, representing a reduction of 0,9 % compared to the previous year;

Transfers

10.  Notes with satisfaction that, according to the Agency’s final accounts, the level and nature of transfers in the year 2015 remained within the limits of the financial rules;

Procurement and recruitment procedures

11.  Welcomes the fact that the Agency addressed several needs with the use of existing contracts, either its own or those of the Commission, in order to optimise the use of available resources; acknowledges that a Memorandum of Understanding on re-invoicing of the procurement services provided by DG DIGIT in the information technology field was signed in early 2016; notes the Agency’s focus on the implementation of e-Administration system as well as the rationalisation and optimisation of its procurement processes;

12.  Deplores the fact that no attention is being devoted to the working conditions of the Agency’s staff, although they play a critical role in performing additional tasks without any increase in their number;

13.  Considers that the Agency represents extremely good value for money, although it is necessary to increase its human and financial resources in the coming years;

Prevention and management of conflicts of interests and transparency

14.  Acknowledges that the Agency adopted a comprehensive policy on the prevention and management of conflicts of interests and an anti-fraud strategy; takes note that of a total of 13 actions to be implemented by the end of 2017, nine were already implemented; takes note that the Agency’s controls aimed at preventing and detecting fraud are similar to those ensuring the legality and regularity of transactions, such as “the four eyes principle”, automated controls in the financial and accounting systems, externalised salaries calculation as well as declarations of interests always being signed by panel members; notes with satisfaction from the Agency that, since its creation, no fraudulent events have occurred;

15.  Notes that declarations of interests and the CVs of the Executive Director, Management Board members and senior management teams were submitted and published on the Agency’s website; regrets, however, that the factual accuracy of the declarations of interests were not checked; calls on the Agency to introduce regular checks and updates on the accuracy of the declarations of interests;

16.  Notes that the Commission has not yet responded to the Agency regarding its draft implementing rules on whistleblowers; asks the Agency to report to the discharge authority on the establishment and implementation of those rules;

Internal controls

17.  Notes that the Agency’s Administrative Board adopted a set of Internal Control Standards (ICS) aiming to ensure the achievement of policy and operational objectives; acknowledges that most of the ICS have a high level of implementation, with four areas having a medium and one having a low degree of implementation in the internal control system;

18.  Notes with concern from the Court’s report that the Agency is not yet fully complying with ICS 10 (Business Continuity), 11 (Document Management) and 12 (Information and Communication); notes also that the Agency has explained that full implementation of those ICS has not yet been achieved, mainly due to budgetary constraints; calls on the Agency to implement those ICS and to report to the discharge authority on the results of the implementation;

Internal audit

19.  Notes that, further to its audit on Building Blocks of Assurance, the Commission’s Internal Audit Service (IAS) issued six recommendations rated as “Important”, which were fully implemented by the Agency; notes moreover that the Agency has no open recommendations from the IAS;

20.  Acknowledges the fact that the Agency developed and implemented centralised monitoring of all audit recommendations issued by the Court, the IAS and its Internal Control Capability, in order to consolidate and monitor them, as well as to improve the follow-up of corresponding action plans; observes that at the end of 2015 only four recommendations were open, with none considered critical or very important;

Performance

21.  Notes that two critical risks were identified during the Agency’s annual risk assessment exercise; notes that the Agency should prepare a strategic Joint Deployment Planning in case the Commission’s Specific Control and Inspection programme is not adopted on time, in order not to jeopardise the implementation of the Agency’s Administrative Work Programme and to avoid the risk of budget appropriations not being used; calls on the Agency to report on how it plans to reduce those residual risks to an acceptable level;

Other comments

22.  Acknowledges that the Agency commenced a process of cooperation with the European Maritime Safety Agency and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in the preparation and the implementation of the pilot project entitled “Creation of a European Coastguard function”; notes that the lessons learned from the pilot project will be used in the implementation of the new “border package” aimed at establishing the task for the three maritime agencies to cooperate to support the national authorities carrying out coast guard functions, by providing services, information, equipment and training, as well as by coordinating multipurpose operations;

23.  Recalls the importance of strengthening the Agency’s mandate so as to put in place joint operational activities with other Union agencies in the maritime sector in order to prevent disasters at sea and to coordinate the functions of European coastguards;

24.  Points out that 2016 was a key year for the implementation of the new Common Fisheries Policy concerning the landing obligation rules, and that the operational coordination of the activities of fisheries control inspections with the Member States entails appropriate human and financial resources; expresses its concern about the practical difficulties involved in implementation of the landing obligation for demersal fisheries, and considers that monitoring should take those difficulties into account;

°

°  °

25.  Refers, for other observations of a cross-cutting nature accompanying its decision on discharge, to its resolution of xx April 2017(11) on the performance, financial management and control of the agencies.

28.2.2017

OPINION of the Committee on Fisheries

for the Committee on Budgetary Control

on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget of the European Fisheries Control Agency for the financial year 2015

(2016/2181(DEC))

Rapporteur: Linnéa Engström

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Fisheries calls on the Committee on Budgetary Control, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Takes note of the Annual Report of the Agency for 2015 and of the Court of Auditors’ report on the annual accounts of the European Fisheries Control Agency (the ‘Agency’) for the financial year 2015;

2.  Points out that the Court of Auditors’ responsibility regarding the Agency is to provide Parliament and the Council with a statement of assurance as to the reliability of its annual accounts and the legality and regularity of the underlying transactions;

3.  Expresses its satisfaction with the Court of Auditors’ declaration that the Agency’s annual accounts present fairly, in all material respects, its financial position as at 31 December 2015 and the results of its operations and cash flows for 2015, and that the transactions underlying the annual accounts for the financial year 2015 are legal and regular;

4.  Considers that the Agency represents extremely good value for money, although it is necessary to increase its human and financial resources in the coming years;

5.  Acknowledges that the Agency implemented its new tasks to comply with the new Common Fisheries Policy with a budget frozen at EUR 9,2 million, at the 2013 level;

6.  Deplores the fact that no attention is being devoted to the working conditions of the Agency’s staff, although they play a critical role in performing additional tasks without any increase in their number;

7.  Notes that the effective budget cuts imposed on the Agency impaired its ability to fulfil its objective of organising operational coordination of control and inspection activities of the Member States in order to ensure the effective and uniform application of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy;

8.  Draws attention to the importance of the Agency’s role in implementing the reformed Common Fisheries Policy and in achieving the objectives thereof, particularly in the light of the landing obligation and demands in terms of the monitoring, control and surveillance of fisheries activities; stresses that it is therefore desirable to evaluate the possibility of increasing appropriations for the Agency’s operations in future years;

9.  Regrets that the reduction of the Agency’s resources and capacity may have as a consequence the weakening of fisheries controls and a concomitant increase in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, to the detriment of the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the sector;

10.  Points out the excellent implementation rate of commitment appropriations (100 %) and payment appropriations (92,2 %) for the financial year 2015;

11.  Welcomes the Agency’s declaration that there were no late payments in 2015 and that the average delay for payments was of 20 days, which is excellent;

12.  Points out that the new migration policy of the Union and, in particular, the creation of the European Border and Coast Guard, as part of an overall improvement in coast guard functions, imply new tasks of inspection and better cooperation for the Agency, which will require increased funding and technical and human resources;

13.  Recalls the importance of strengthening the Agency’s mandate so as to put in place joint operational activities with other Union agencies in the maritime sector in order to prevent disasters at sea and to coordinate the functions of European coastguards;

14.  Points out that 2016 was a key year for the implementation of the new Common Fisheries Policy concerning the landing obligation rules, and that the operational coordination of the activities of fisheries control inspections with the Member States implies appropriate human and financial resources; expresses its concern about the practical difficulties involved in implementation of the landing obligation for demersal fisheries, and considers that monitoring should take those difficulties into account;

15.  Notes that, for the Agency to comply with its mandate and new policy objectives, as part of an overall improvement in coast guard functions, its financial and human resources have been increased from 2017 onwards, so that the Agency can meet its future needs and its new ambitions, and stresses the need to evaluate the possibility of increasing the budgetary appropriations for the Agency’s operations relating to fisheries surveillance in the coming years;

16.  Proposes to grant the Executive Director of the Agency discharge in respect of the implementation of the Agency’s budget for the financial year 2015.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

28.2.2017

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

19

3

3

Members present for the final vote

Marco Affronte, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Renata Briano, Alain Cadec, Richard Corbett, Linnéa Engström, João Ferreira, Mike Hookem, Carlos Iturgaiz, António Marinho e Pinto, Gabriel Mato, Norica Nicolai, Liadh Ní Riada, Ulrike Rodust, Remo Sernagiotto, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Ruža Tomašić, Peter van Dalen, Jarosław Wałęsa

Substitutes present for the final vote

Ole Christensen, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Francisco José Millán Mon

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Rosa D’Amato, Jens Nilsson, Bronis Ropė, Sven Schulze

INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

22.3.2017

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

5

0

Members present for the final vote

Inés Ayala Sender, Dennis de Jong, Tamás Deutsch, Martina Dlabajová, Luke Ming Flanagan, Ingeborg Gräßle, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Jean-François Jalkh, Bogusław Liberadzki, Monica Macovei, Notis Marias, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Petri Sarvamaa, Claudia Schmidt, Bart Staes, Hannu Takkula, Derek Vaughan, Joachim Zeller

Substitutes present for the final vote

Richard Ashworth, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Benedek Jávor, Karin Kadenbach, Julia Pitera, Patricija Šulin

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Raymond Finch, Piernicola Pedicini, Janusz Zemke

FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

22

+

ALDE

ECR

GUE/NGL

PPE

S&D

VERTS/ALE

Martina Dlabajová, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Hannu Takkula

Monica Macovei

Luke Ming Flanagan, Dennis de Jong

Tamás Deutsch, Ingeborg Gräßle, Julia Pitera, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Petri Sarvamaa, Claudia Schmidt, Joachim Zeller, Patricija Šulin

Inés Ayala Sender, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Karin Kadenbach, Bogusław Liberadzki, Derek Vaughan, Janusz Zemke

Benedek Jávor, Bart Staes

5

ECR

EFDD

ENF

Richard Ashworth, Notis Marias

Raymond Finch, Piernicola Pedicini

Jean-François Jalkh

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

–  :  against

0  :  abstention

(1)

OJ C 449, 1.12.2016, p. 93.

(2)

OJ C 449, 1.12.2016, p. 93.

(3)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(4)

OJ L 128, 21.5.2005, p. 1.

(5)

OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(6)

OJ C 449, 1.12.2016, p. 93.

(7)

OJ C 449, 1.12.2016, p. 93.

(8)

OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.

(9)

OJ L 128, 21.5.2005, p. 1.

(10)

OJ L 328, 7.12.2013, p. 42.

(11)

Texts adopted, P[8_TA(-PROV)(2017)0000].

General Market

Motion for a resolution on the strategic priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2017 – B8-2016-0893

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Political Guidelines for the European Commission, entitled ‘A New Start for Europe: My Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change’ and presented by Jean-Claude Juncker on 15 July 2014,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Commission Work Programme 2016 – No time for business as usual’ (COM(2015)0610), and Annexes 1 to 6 thereto,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016,

–  having regard to the Conference of Committee Chairs’ Summary Report, which provides complementary input to this resolution from the point of view of parliamentary committees and which the Commission should take duly into account when drafting and adopting its Work Programme for 2017,

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 June 2016 on the decision to leave the EU resulting from the UK referendum(1),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 28-29 June 2016,

–  having regard to the contribution of the Committee of the Regions to the Commission’s 2017 Work Programme,

–  having regard to the Commission statement of 6 July 2016 on the Commission Work Programme 2017,

–  having regard to Rule 37(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the European integration process has brought peace and contributed to security and prosperity in Europe for decades;

B.  whereas Europe now faces many common and global challenges, but also increasing frustration and mistrust among many citizens about uncertain life prospects and a lack of opportunities that citizens expect decision-makers to respond to; whereas, if it is to succeed, European integration cannot let itself be reduced to a mere economic project; whereas it is urgent to win back the hearts of Europeans in favour of the European project and to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion;

C.  whereas the EU’s overlapping crises require effective European solutions, strongly anchored in a more democratic process through the community method, and with the full involvement of the European Parliament and the national parliaments;

D.  whereas the EU is our common house and it must offer a safe home and a stable economic environment with real equality of opportunity for its citizens; whereas sustainability and economic growth are compatible and can be mutually reinforcing; whereas it is important to bring the EU out of the lengthy economic crisis and deliver social progress by stepping up sustainable investments, reducing disparities and developing better policies, in particular by deepening the internal market and completing the Economic and Monetary Union;

E.  whereas we have chosen to pursue a common future, as a community based on shared values and cherishing the richness and diversity of our traditions and history; whereas we want Europe to play its role and take up its responsibility on the global stage, committed to solidarity, multilateralism, our external partnerships and promoting convergence on better standards; whereas we want to secure our common project of shared peace, prosperity and democracy, with a view to creating an appealing future for all generations;

Improving the working and living conditions of European citizens

1.  Recalls that Europe’s economic recovery has been modest and unbalanced, with many regions of the Union still experiencing unacceptable levels of unemployment, poverty, inequality and a severe lack of prospects for younger generations; stresses that the EU must therefore work towards a dynamic and inclusive labour market embedded in the European social market economy model, improving citizens’ living and working conditions at their places of origin and enabling fair mobility, while respecting in every Member State the core European principle of free movement of workers; is convinced that all EU citizens must count on a fundamental set of fair working conditions, full compliance with European standards on health and safety at work and access to quality education, social protection and essential services which enable a work-life balance;

2.  Calls on the Commission, to that end, to build on the ongoing public consultation and Parliament’s forthcoming report by putting forward, in line with Treaty objectives and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, an ambitious proposal on a European pillar of social rights, to be translated into concrete initiatives, in particular to:

  –  promote the accessibility, affordability and quality of early education, childcare and healthcare, which are crucial to ensuring that no child is left behind; the Commission should therefore reflect on further actions to develop social investment, and in particular to reduce child poverty through the adoption of an EU Child Guarantee;

  –  close the skills gap and ensure access to quality education, training, vocational training and lifelong learning for all;

  –  reduce social inequalities and promote quality jobs, especially for young people and the long-term unemployed;

  –  address work-life balance challenges and the gender gap in pay and pensions, including through new legislative proposals on the Maternity Leave Directive, the Carers’ Leave Directive and on paternity leave;

3.  Stresses that the Commission should monitor, encourage and support Member States’ efficient and effective spending of funds to boost youth employment and quality job creation, in particular in regions with high unemployment levels, through programmes financed by the Youth Employment Initiative, the European Structural and Investment Funds, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and the European Investment Bank;

4.  Emphasises that the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States and social partners, should also reinforce the European social dialogue with a view to better reconciling labour markets and social protection systems in order to address social inequalities and new challenges arising from globalisation and digitalisation;

5.  Underlines that the Commission should ensure the principle of non-discrimination and equal pay for equal work at the same place for all workers, regardless of the underlying contract, including for mobile and posted workers;

Strengthening economic recovery and long-term competitiveness with a view to creating jobs, raising living standards and generating prosperity

6.  Is convinced that the EU can be a world leader by unleashing the full potential of its single market and promoting entrepreneurship, fair competition and investment in innovation;

7.  Calls for re-launching the sustainable growth and employment strategy Europe 2020, with a real ambition for the future, in particular for improving our social market economy model and bringing about broadly shared prosperity; is convinced that boosting employment remains the top priority, and that the EU needs targeted investments to accelerate the transition towards an innovative, resource-efficient, digital economy with a view to reindustrialising Europe;

8.  Asks the Commission to design a new, ambitious industrial strategy that builds on and complements the Circular Economy Package; points out that additional private and public investments are needed for energy transition, eco-innovative SMEs, research and education;

9.  Calls on the Commission to propose more measures which would foster research and development, innovation, cultural diversity and creativity as key drivers of job creation, while bearing in mind that companies’, and in particular SMEs’, access to capital is vital in order to encourage development and production of new products and services in both traditional and emerging sectors and effective protection of intellectual property rights;

10.  Considers that the single market needs to be further integrated, in particular in the digital area, creating a fair environment for consumers and SMEs and removing unjustified barriers; is deeply convinced that a globally competitive, innovative, citizen-oriented digital single market is a possible way forward to respond to the challenges of the 21st century; considers that economic growth in the EU can be further expanded by fully exploring the potential of the travel and tourism sector, and stresses that the Commission must play a central role in ensuring that all priorities related to competitiveness, digitalisation, good governance, skills and qualifications, sustainability and connectivity in the tourism sector are taken into consideration across political frameworks;

11.  Expects the Commission to mobilise all its powers and competences to promote a transition to a better growth model consistent with the principles of sustainable development which entails its economic, social and environmental dimensions;

Responding to climate change and ensuring energy security

12.  Reiterates that efforts must be stepped up to achieve the Energy Union, with a view to guaranteeing energy security and affordable, sustainable energy for all citizens and businesses, paying particular attention to addressing energy poverty;

13.  Notes the human and economic consequences of climate disasters in Europe; highlights the importance of continuing to address the root causes of climate change with an ambitious climate strategy that includes energy efficiency;

14.  Calls for more ambitious targets to be set at EU level for greenhouse gas reduction, renewables and energy efficiency for the post-2020 period, in the context of the Paris UN climate change conference (COP 21) agreement;

15.  Asks the Commission to develop a common strategy for energy and climate diplomacy that would address these global concerns;

16.  Asks the Commission to coordinate efforts to phase-out fossil fuel subsidies;

Ensuring a consistent response to the increased inflow of refugees

17.  Is of the opinion that the European Union must work out concrete solutions to address the refugee emergency in line with international law, in particular by addressing its root causes, by strengthening cooperation with countries of transit and origin of migration flows and by using all available policies and instruments to ensure their stabilisation, rehabilitation and development;

18.  Encourages the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to pursue necessary humanitarian assistance and ensure decent living conditions in refugee camps, combined with longer-term development programmes, especially in the field of education;

19.  Points out that the EU asylum and migration policy is not fit for purpose and needs a fundamental rethink, based on Article 80 TFEU; maintains that no reform of the Common European Asylum System should lead to lowering the current level of protection in EU asylum law; calls on the Commission to promote a fair distribution of asylum-seekers between the Member States, replacing the current Dublin system, which is obsolete;

20.  Calls for systematic, enforceable programmes to be put in place urgently for the direct resettlement and relocation of asylum-seekers;

21.  Calls for conditions to be created within the EU for a well-managed reception of asylum-seekers that would ensure their safety and humane, gender-based treatment, paying particular attention to the needs of vulnerable groups; stresses, at the same time, that sufficient resources must be guaranteed to ensure labour market integration and social inclusion of refugees that ensures access to education, healthcare and social security; highlights, in this context, the need for increased funding for the European Social Fund and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) in the framework of the mid-term revision of the multiannual financial framework;

22.  Asks the Commission to make proposals for establishing a proper EU economic and legal migration policy that builds on existing instruments for students, researchers and highly skilled workers, and in the longer term for establishing more general rules based on equal treatment governing entry and residence for those third country nationals seeking employment in the Union with a view to filling the gaps identified in the EU labour market;

23.  Believes that, as international migration is a global phenomenon that is growing in scope, complexity and impact, the EU and the rest of the international community must assume their respective responsibilities in this field;

Addressing the security concerns of citizens

24.  Stresses that internal and external security are increasingly linked;

25.  Urges the Commission, following the adoption of the proposal for a European Border and Coast Guard, to ensure its rapid start-up, and allocation of the necessary human and logistical capacities, with a view to safeguarding the EU and completing the Schengen area with the accession of all Member States seeking to join;

26.  Calls on the Commission, with a view to addressing the threats of terrorism and violent extremism, to monitor closely the transposition and implementation of EU counter-terrorism measures, including effective police and judicial cooperation, timely sharing of information among national authorities and through Europol and Eurojust, and measures to tackle emerging trends of terrorism financing; stresses, furthermore, that the Commission should launch infringement proceedings against Member States that fail to comply with EU law in this area, especially as regards the effective exchange of information;

27.  Calls on the Commission to mobilise expertise and technical and financial resources in order to ensure EU-level coordination and exchanges of best practices in the fight against violent extremism and terrorist propaganda, radical networks and recruitment by terrorist organisations through offline and online means, with a particular focus on prevention, integration and re-integration strategies;

28.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure full implementation of security legislation already adopted; reiterates its call for an in-depth evaluation of the EU counter-terrorism strategy, assessing both the application of the adopted measures and their effectiveness; expects the Commission to update the security agenda as required in the light of the evolving terrorist threat;

29.  Calls on the Commission to present its announced proposals for a proper legal basis for the European Counter Terrorism Centre within Europol, proposals to improve and develop existing information systems, address information gaps and move towards interoperability, as well as proposals for compulsory information sharing at EU level, accompanied by necessary data protection safeguards;

Deploying an ambitious external action agenda: on neighbourhood and on the global system

30.  Welcomes the presentation of the EU Global Strategy, which positions the EU as a geopolitical player in a rapidly changing world, and expects the Commission and the European External Action Service to mobilise in a coherent way all EU external action instruments with a view to achieving improved global governance, wide convergence on better standards, improved security and stronger respect for human rights in the world; stresses, to that end, that the following key elements should be moved to the top of the EU’s external affairs agenda:

–  Promoting stability and prosperity in the EU’s neighbourhood, through initiatives fostering development, democracy, good governance and the rule of law, by enhancing civilian conflict prevention and reconciliation measures, security dialogue and activities in the context of the common security and defence policy, including with the appropriate involvement of NATO, which, for those states which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation;

–  Reviving, with the support of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the common security and defence policy, which can no longer be the weakest link in the EU integration process; ensuring that structures, mechanisms or tools that already exist become an operational reality;

–  Moving forward the enlargement negotiation process by strengthening social, political and economic stability and democracy in the candidate countries, without concessions on the Copenhagen accession criteria;

–  Making development cooperation policy more effective and better coordinated and coherent with other EU external action instruments, while respecting its primary objective as set out in the Lisbon Treaty, and ensuring coherence and consistency between development and security policies, as they are both interlinked, interdependent and mutually reinforcing;

–  Integrating the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) in the EU’s external and internal policies; urges the Commission to report on its plan for implementation, monitoring, follow-up and incorporation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs;

–  Promoting trade as an important instrument for fostering growth, jobs and competitiveness and promoting EU standards relating to human rights and sustainable development; the Union’s trade defence instruments must be modernised and vigorously applied, and non-standard methodologies used where appropriate;

–  Adopting solutions to counter hybrid threats and foster the resilience of the EU and Member States, as well as that of EU partners, notably in the EU neighbourhood;

–  Implementing the strategy for international cultural relations, an important soft diplomacy tool for improving relations with EU partner countries and supporting inclusive growth and job creation;

Fair taxation policies for adequate resources

31.  Stresses that there has never been a more urgent need to step up the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance, which represents potential income to national budgets of up to EUR 1 trillion; considers that these resources could have been spent on investing in the future, boosting employment and reducing inequalities;

32.  Underlines that the Commission must continue to act without delay to ensure that profits are taxed in countries where the actual economic activity and value is created in Europe; the EU should work towards a mandatory common consolidated corporate tax base, step up efforts to investigate tax-related state aid breaches, apply common rules on the use and transparency of tax rulings and pursue a determined common approach to close down tax havens;

33.  Calls on the Commission to include in its fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance an external dimension, preventing profits from leaving the EU without being taxed and fighting illicit capital flows from third countries that hinder development and undermine the fight against poverty;

Strengthening the EU budget and financial instruments

34.  Is of the opinion that, in order to act effectively, the EU needs a new financial and fiscal strategy; considers that the Commission should, to this end, propose measures based on the following principles and elements:

–  Mobilising adequate resources swiftly; it is inevitable to reform the system of financing the Union by strengthening genuine own resources or introducing new ones, such as a financial transaction tax, a reformed EU system of emissions trading and carbon taxation or taxation for multinational corporates, in order to make the Union budget more stable, more sustainable and more predictable; at the same time, it is important to respect the principle of universality and to improve transparency;

–  For maximum results, EU budgetary instruments must be managed with close attention to performance and cost-effectiveness, while ensuring compliance and protecting EU financial interests;

–  The EU should take steps to put together resources for responding to the challenges of high youth and long-term unemployment, poverty and social exclusion, and the internal and external dimensions of the refugee emergency;

–  After only two years of implementation, the multiannual financial framework (MFF) has reached its limits; furthermore, without a comprehensive mid-term revision of the MFF, the EU budget will be unable to address additional financial needs and new political priorities, and unable to avoid the resurgence of a payment crisis; calls on the Commission to present a review of the functioning of the MFF before the end of 2016 and to take decisive action to revise the ceilings of the MFF upward and expand its flexibility to respond to circumstances not foreseen in 2013;

–  The European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) needs to be managed in a way that maximises additionality, enables all Member States to undertake higher levels of strategic investment and ensures that funding for investment is contributing to the transition to a sustainable economy and society; EFSI governance should be reformed to enhance accountability and democratic control over this instrument; the Commission’s proposal for the EFSI’s next phase should be based on these objectives;

–  Effective implementation of cohesion policy for 2014-2020 should be accompanied by preparations for its post-2020 phase, respecting its true nature as set out in the Treaties, its importance for the development of the single market and its potential as an investment tool accessible to all regions in the EU; any decrease in cohesion policy budget should be avoided, and synergies between the European Structural and Investment Funds, the EFSI and other EU funding instruments should be strengthened with a view to accelerating smart, green, inclusive growth, with a credible balance between grants and financial instruments being developed;

–  Calls on the Commission to present proposals to reduce the bureaucratic complexity of the CAP for farmers; calls on the Commission to devise improved instruments to deal with extreme crises on the agricultural markets; believes that framework legislation at EU level is necessary to tackle unfair trading practices in the food supply chain so as to ensure that European farmers and consumers may benefit from fair selling and buying conditions;

Completing the Economic and Monetary Union

35.  Insists that democratic accountability must be ensured for all decisions taken in the context of European economic governance;

36.  Holds the view that the EU needs to be working towards upward economic and social convergence, in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Stability and Growth Pact rules and the European Semester governance framework;

37.  The Commission should continue its monitoring of debts, deficits and macroeconomic imbalances and seek to optimise the euro area’s aggregate fiscal stance in a way that respects the Stability and Growth Pact and encourages economic growth and job creation;

38.  Believes that the EU needs to improve the credibility, consistency, national ownership and democratic legitimacy of the European Semester in order to pursue fiscal responsibility and tackle inequalities and imbalances;

39.  Calls for closer economic policy coordination with a view to addressing the euro area’s investment gaps and strengthening reform efforts in order to increase competitiveness and job creation and to sustain demand;

40.  Considers that the banking union needs to be completed;

41.  Asks the Commission to consider with great attention the outcomes of the ongoing reflection on developing an Economic and Monetary Union fiscal capacity;

42.  Asks the Commission to present a consistent and well-substantiated set of proposals on completing the Economic and Monetary Union as identified by the Five Presidents’ Report; notes that this process should remain open to Member States committed to adopting the euro;

43.  Calls on the Commission to deliver on the promises made when presenting the Capital Markets Union and speed up the process of making European capital markets deeper, more harmonised and truly cross-border, with legislative initiatives that follow the community method, including proposals to upgrade in parallel the role and mission of the relevant supervisory authorities;

Strengthening fundamental rights and democracy

44.  Is concerned that the ongoing crises have not only damaged the cohesion of European societies, but also shaken the confidence of European citizens in democratic institutions at EU and sometimes national level; believes, therefore, that enhancing the EU’s democratic legitimacy and restoring trust in its capacity to serve the interests of citizens must be Europe’s highest priority;

45.  Recalls that many of today’s challenges, from climate change to asylum and migration, from financial markets to corporations’ supply chains, and from terrorist networks to failed and rogue states, are transnational and require European solutions defined through the community method, with the full involvement of the Commission and Parliament;

46.  Recalls that, as the guardian of the Treaties, the Commission is responsible for promoting the general interest of the Union (Article 17 TEU), namely peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples (Article 3 TEU); points out that Parliament also has a particular political responsibility in helping to overcome divisions between Member States, defend the general interest of Europeans and ensure democratic legitimacy for decisions taken at European level; at the same time, calls on national parliaments to exert full democratic control over their representatives in the European Council; and calls on the Commission to ensure that all initiatives, including those of the European Council, are based on the Treaties;

47.  Asks the Commission to take initiatives with a view to strengthening the European institutions and encouraging EU citizens to be more involved in European political life; calls for all the EU institutions to connect better with younger generations and their platforms for debate; believes that stronger actions are also possible to inform EU citizens about their rights, reform the European Citizens’ Initiative and strengthen the role of the EU Ombudsman;

48.  Calls on the Commission to enhance cooperation to ensure media literacy and to safeguard media diversity and press freedom;

49.  Asks the Commission to put forward proposals for a Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Pact, taking into consideration Parliament’s forthcoming report; believes that it should also continue to progress towards EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), taking into account the Court of Justice opinion on the matter and addressing the remaining legal challenges; calls, as a matter of urgency, for the EU and all its Member States to ratify the Istanbul Convention in order to better protect women and girls from violence;

50.  Calls for all the EU institutions to strive for the highest possible standards of transparency, accountability and integrity, and to fight conflicts of interest that are detrimental to the efficiency, fairness and reliability of the laws;

51.  Asks the Commission to propose legislative provisions on the protection of whistle-blowers at EU level, providing legal ways of disclosure and effective sanctions;

52.  Is committed to using all its tools and resources to act as a driving force in a renewed democratic process towards the reform of the European Union;

°

°  °

53.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission.

General Information

Text adopted – Small-scale coastal fishing in regions dependent on fishing – P8_TA-PROV(2016)0109 – Tuesday, 12 April 2016 – Strasbourg – Provisional edition

The European Parliament,

—  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC,

—  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2328/2003, (EC) No 861/2006, (EC) No 1198/2006 and (EC) No 791/2007 and Regulation (EU) No 1255/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council,

—  having regard to Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on measures during the adoption of which it is necessary to take into account the special characteristics and constraints of the outermost regions,

—  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2012 on small-scale coastal fishing, artisanal fishing and the reform of the common fisheries policy(1) ,

—  having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2013 on marine knowledge 2020: seabed mapping for promoting sustainable fisheries(2) ,

—  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 May 2014 entitled ‘Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth’ (COM(2014)0254),

—  having regard to the Commission communication of 6 October 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative: Innovation Union’ (COM(2010)0546),

—  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) and repealing Decision No 1982/2006/EC,

—  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee, delivered on 15 October 2014, on the communication entitled ‘Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth’ (2015/C 012/15),

—  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions, delivered on 21 January 2015, on the communication entitled ‘Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth’ (2015/C 019/05),

—  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 September 2012 entitled ‘Blue Growth – opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth’ (COM(2012)0494),

—  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 March 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020 – A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

—  having regard to its resolution of 8 September 2015 on untapping the potential of research and innovation in the blue economy to create jobs and growth(3) ,

—  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 May 2013 entitled ‘Action Plan for a Maritime Strategy in the Atlantic area: delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2013)0279 ),

—  having regard to the Commission Green Paper of 29 August 2012 entitled ‘Marine Knowledge 2020: from seabed mapping to ocean forecasting’ (COM(2012)0473 ),

—  having regard to its resolution of 2 July 2013 on Blue Growth: enhancing sustainable growth in the EU’s marine, maritime transport and tourism sectors(4) ,

—  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 February 2014 entitled ‘A European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism’ (COM(2014)0086 ),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A8-0044/2016),

A.  whereas coastal fishing accounts for 80 % of the European fleet and, together with shellfishing, guarantees a high level of employment in coastal areas, islands and the outermost regions, and generally represents a socially and environmentally sustainable form of fishing that has considerable potential; whereas its influence on the social heritage and cultural characteristics of coastal and island areas is exceptional and diverse;

B.  whereas most coastal and island fishing constitutes a traditional form of commercial fishing, i.e. a way of life and the principal fishing source of livelihood and of direct and indirect job creation, particularly in areas which depend on coastal fishing and which require special measures and support to facilitate growth and development;

C.  whereas coastal fishing varies to a great degree between individual Member States and also between different coastline regions within a single Member State, in terms of its basic definition and characteristics, a situation that will need to be rectified and harmonised in the common fisheries policy (CFP) in the future, and whereas significant differences exist between the Member States in terms of geography, climate, ecosystems and socio-economic factors;

D.  whereas there are differences in the characteristics of coastal fishing in the various seas within the European Union, such as in the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea as a whole, which differ from those in the open seas of the Atlantic Ocean, including along the coast of French Guiana and in the Indian Ocean basin;

E.  whereas Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) defines small-scale coastal fishing as fishing carried out by vessels of less than 12 metres and not using towed fishing gear, and whereas this is the only definition of coastal fishing in EU legislation;

F.  whereas the reformed CFP has regionalisation as one of its cornerstones in recognition of the fact that, given the huge diversity of Europe’s fisheries, centralised management is not appropriate; whereas given the very nature of coastal and island fishing, regionalisation and a non-centralised approach is of particular importance in this sector and the communities it serves;

G.  whereas operations financed by the EMFF may benefit from an increase by 30 points in aid intensity where they concern small-scale coastal fisheries;

H.  whereas Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the EMFF states that in Member States where over 1 000 vessels can be considered to be small-scale coastal fishing vessels, an action plan must be drawn up for the development, competitiveness and sustainability of small-scale coastal fishing;

I.  whereas coastal fishing should be managed pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, taking into account the diversity of the fleets’ fishing gears, geographical and climate-based constraints, techniques and fish stocks in individual Member States and in every individual fishing zone, thereby contributing to the conservation of local traditions and fishing-related activities;

J.  whereas given that each fishing area has its own specific characteristics, the exchange of information and of good practices between the different areas may help to considerably improve the impact of fishing activities on the environment and marine ecosystems and also enable better interaction between all of the human and economic activities taking place in and around coastal areas;

K.  whereas the revenues of small-scale fishing have been decreasing substantially, as a result of the significant increase in operating costs, in particular owing to fuel costs, and owing to the reduction in the value of fish at first sale, often imposing an increase in fishing effort;

L.  whereas the management of various stocks of several prime target species has in many regions placed serious restrictions on fishing and on small fishing communities;

M.  whereas mainly traditional fishing gears and techniques, such as almadraba fishing traps, which by virtue of their specific characteristics define the identity and way of life of coastal regions, are used in coastal fishing, and there is a vital need to preserve their use and protect them as an element of cultural, historical and traditional heritage;

N.  whereas non-industrial fishing contributes to the viability of coastal and island communities in terms of controlling increasing depopulation, the fight against ageing in the fisheries sector and unemployment; whereas development and innovation may play a fundamental role in job creation in these communities; whereas, in addition, non-industrial fishing makes use, in certain zones, of ancient fishing gears and techniques which are more environmentally friendly and which have less of an impact on the status of endangered stocks;

O.  whereas non-industrial, coastal and traditional fishing is environmentally friendly and forms the basic economic building block for maintenance, development and employment in coastal and island communities;

P.  whereas, in accordance with the Mediterranean Regulation, the classification of towed gears also includes trawl nets and seine nets, even though other classifications – such as that of the Food and Agriculture Organisation – consider seine nets to be a separate group of fishing gears; whereas provisions relating to towed trawl nets should not be applied to traditional coastal seine nets, which are used to catch species that are not endangered;

Q.  whereas despite talk of innovating and diversifying the fisheries sector, account must be taken of the fact that a huge fishing community is extremely dependent on traditional and ancient forms of fishing;

R.  whereas the new CFP acknowledges the importance of fishing-dependent coastal and island regions, and whereas the role to be played by Member States in ensuring an adequate standard of living for those who depend on fishing activities, contributing to the attainment of such a standard in the context of coastal fishing, and promoting sustainable coastal fishing and the diversification of activities in fisheries and income for those living in these coastal areas, while taking into account its cultural socio-economic reality and environmental factors, should also emphasise the importance of training and health and safety at sea for fishermen; in line with the special protection conferred by Article 174 TFEU;

S.  whereas the new Regulation on the Common Fisheries Policy gives preferential access to small-scale, coastal and traditional fishermen within a zone extending for 12 nautical miles, i.e. in the most sensitive part of the EU’s waters, and whereas the Commission’s evaluation of the old Regulation on the Common Fisheries Policy found that the 12-mile zones were one of the few successes of the old management regime, which was subject to many conflicts in relation to the use of space and resources with other overlapping human activities on the coastline;

T.  whereas Article 349 TFEU states that, when adopting measures – especially measures relating to the fisheries sector – the special characteristics and constraints of the outermost regions must be taken into account, with emphasis on their geographical isolation, remote location and oceanic conditions, in an often highly specific regional context where self-reliance is needed in terms of food production;

U.  whereas it should be noted that, because of the particular geographical characteristics of the outermost regions and their extreme remoteness from Europe, coastal fishing is integral to the economic development of these regions;

V.  whereas coastal fishing in the outermost regions also faces competition from vessels sailing under non-EU flags that use the same fishing areas and target the same species to sell on the same markets, in addition to competition from non-EU imports which are subject to completely different operating costs and regulatory, sanitary and environmental constraints; whereas, in this context, any efforts to aid endogenous development and self‑reliance in terms of food production would come to nothing unless supported by specific EU policies in these regions;

W.  whereas, in the outermost regions, marine aquaculture also contributes, alongside coastal fishing, to economic development and the supply of fresh produce to the local area;

X.  whereas the majority of coastal regions, especially those in southern European countries and island regions, are facing a significant economic decline, which is resulting in depopulation and the exodus of their inhabitants, who seek opportunities in areas offering better prospects for employment and education;

Y.  whereas the European crisis has demonstrated the need for Europe to diversify its economic activities, and the importance of analysing new models of innovation and knowledge which may create new employment at local level.

Z.  whereas some coastal fishing regions are located close to economically developed regions and tourist destinations but are nonetheless unable to achieve adequate economic growth; whereas the pressure to use the sea’s resources is already growing in such regions, and the fisheries sector is being marginalised in favour of tourism, even though the two sectors are compatible and complementary;

AA.  whereas logbooks often represent an administrative burden for small coastal fishing businesses and greater flexibility would be desirable;

AB.  whereas this pressure on coastal areas from the tourism sector is principally caused by certain specific activities, such as uncontrolled recreational fishing, which in some areas are putting a strain on the sea’s resources and affecting business opportunities for those who live in traditional fishing areas;

AC.  whereas the founding of Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) in areas which rely on fishing is vital, as such groups are recognised as a useful instrument that provides opportunities and possibilities for the diversification of activities in fisheries, which ultimately leads to the general development of coastal and island regions and to social cohesion in these regions, and there is therefore a need to further increase economic resources to enable these groups to form and to act in the relevant areas;

AD.  whereas female shellfish gatherers remain invisible and women are under‑represented in general in the fisheries sector;

AE.  whereas women working in the maritime sector as net‑makers, provisioners, unloaders and packers remain invisible as a group;

AF.  whereas the economic crisis is also making itself felt in the fisheries sector, especially for those population groups that have been most affected by the unemployment situation such as young people and women, and therefore diversification and innovation are necessary in order to increase employment, to take advantage of new possibilities such as blue and green development, and to prevent and counteract the marginalisation of fisheries in developing and peripheral regions; whereas special attention should be taken on professional training;

AG.  whereas diversification in coastal and island regions may be carried out through activities related to the marketing and promotion of fish products, gastronomy, tourism, cultural, historical and traditional heritage, the environment and green growth;

AH.  whereas the concept of the blue economy is developing and may give a strong boost to growth and economic development, as well as the creation of employment, in particular in coastal and island countries and regions and in the outermost regions;

AI.  whereas the coastal and island communities have a fundamental interest in the materialisation of the concept of the blue economy;

AJ.  whereas the EU’s ‘Innovation Union’ initiative acknowledged and identified shortcomings that restrict and prevent the development of research and innovation, such as inadequate investment in science, the lack of adequate data on seas and oceans, insufficient funding and a lack of cooperation between the private and public sectors;

AK.  whereas the development of the blue economy would contribute to economic growth overall – and particularly in coastal, island and outermost regions – and it is precisely the regions that depend on fisheries that have a key role to play in the development of innovations and that should be involved at every phase of the development of the blue economy;

AL.  whereas in the fisheries sector, in the same way as in other sectors, the environment and the economy go hand in hand; whereas the development of the blue economy should therefore focus on social economy and on sustainable and environmentally friendly projects and activities aimed at introducing developing coastal activities and preserving the maritime environment and biodiversity as a whole, with specific support for environmentally friendly artisanal fishing activities which encourage biodiversity; whereas these projects and activities must also be sustainable from the social and economic point of view so as to ensure that non‑industrial fishing remains viable;

AM.  whereas the blue economy may also contribute to developing safety aboard fishing vessels and improve fishermen’s working conditions and day‑to‑day wellbeing;

AN.  whereas environmental and selectivity targets apply equally across the board, but it will be problematic for small vessels to meet the landing obligation for discards;

AO.  whereas anthropogenic influences, i.e. human activities, in coastal regions have been underestimated in the context of environmental protection issues; whereas the cumulative effects of various activities on coastal regions have not been adequately recognised or assessed; whereas activities that take place in some areas, such as maritime transport, tourism, uncontrolled and exhaustive recreational fishing in some areas, the sale of species obtained through this activity, poaching, urban and industrial waste water from the mainland, etc., particularly affect the fisheries sector;

AP.  whereas knowledge of the marine environment, specifically of the state of the marine ecosystem, is vital for assessing the impact of various activities on the environment, as is the laying down of suitable protection measures and monitoring programmes with the goal of promoting the recovery of fish stocks, the sustainable use of resources and the development of innovations; whereas data on the marine environment are inadequate and inadequately systematised;

AQ.  whereas in certain regions illegal fishing poses a real threat to the continued existence of non‑industrial coastal fishing as well as jeopardising the preservation of fishery resources and biodiversity;

AR.  whereas the Integrated Maritime Policy aims to respond to the new challenges faced by the seas, industry and fishermen throughout Europe, from protection of the environment to coastal development, by way of aquaculture, nautical tourism or other economic activities related to blue growth;

1.  Calls on the Commission to adapt the definition of coastal, small-scale coastal and traditional fishing in line with the socio-economic characteristics and specificities of the different regions, rather than solely according to the dimensions and power of fishing vessels, since the current EU regulations are not satisfactory; proposes to make use of regionalisation in order to adapt the definition of coastal fishing on a case‑by‑case basis in line with the specificities of each fishery; proposes to take into account a number of indicative criteria such as the size of the vessels, the fishing gears used, the selectivity of fishing techniques, the lengths of the fishing trips and whether the owner of the vessel is on board, the traditional formulas of entrepreneurship and the property and business structures traditionally operating in these areas, the involvement of the extractive sector in the activities of processing and sales, the true nature and scale of the extractive activities and other factors linked to traditional activities, the support from businesses or the influence on local communities;

2.  Calls on the Commission to consider the possibility of small-scale coastal fishing in island communities which traditionally depend on fishing for their own livelihood, and are engaged in fishing activities throughout the year;

3.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to gradually increase the quotas allocated to non‑industrial fisheries, in order to boost this socially and ecologically sustainable form of fishing;

4.  Calls on the Commission to support innovative projects and legal provisions that facilitate the development of the coastal, island and outermost regions, taking account of the diversity of socio-economic activities, as a means to drive the positive externalities of non‑industrial fishing, in terms of both social and economic cohesion and environmental protection by means of new types of support within the context of existing European funding; emphasises that priority should be given to projects that focus on sustainable job creation and retention, the increasing involvement of the extractive sector in processing and sales, the promotion of entrepreneurship formulas linked to social economy, the promotion of short market chains, the introduction of new technologies in the promotion and sale of fishing goods and services, innovation in the development of new goods and services, and maintaining and protecting traditional roles;

5.  Considers that the revision of the framework of technical measures must take into account the specificities of coastal fishing and allow for certain derogations, provided these are justified, in the context of regionalisation;

6.  Calls on the Commission to coordinate an investigation at European level to ascertain the impact of recreational coastal fishing on traditional fishing activities and also to define the parameters that are required in order to reduce recreational coastal fishing in some areas; calls for increased monitoring of this activity to prevent any interference between the extractive sector and these practices that are already a cause for concern in outermost regions with important tourism sectors;

7.  Calls on the Member States to give priority to small‑scale coastal fishing when granting EMFF funding and to streamline procedures for operators of those types of fisheries;

8.  Urges the authorities involved in promoting these activities to ensure that all local stakeholders, entrepreneurs’ associations, fishing and oceanography research institutes, universities, centres for technology and local and regional institutions participate in the innovation processes, in order to help the projects to introduce comprehensive measures, to improve their financing prospects and to provide them with sufficient support to meet the conditions specified in the European Fisheries Fund;

9.  Calls on the Commission to be accountable to the Parliament in respect of the action plans for the development, competitiveness and sustainability of small‑scale coastal fishing drawn up by the Member States for the purposes of the EMFF;

10.  Calls on the Commission to implement the necessary measures to support the various groups of women in the maritime sector so as to encourage their participation and ensure they are represented in all areas, both in decision‑making roles and fishing activities;

11.  Calls on the Commission to introduce specific measures to recognise and improve working conditions for women working as net‑makers, provisioners, unloaders and packers;

12.  Calls on the Commission, in close coordination with the Member States, to strengthen the role of the European Fisheries Areas Network (FARNET), which provides significant assistance to FLAGs;

13.  Calls on the Commission to promote and drive the founding and the work of FLAGs by increasing economic resources, since these groups are providing continued support and advice directly to the fisheries sector and thus promoting a socially inclusive sustainable development model in fishing areas, inspiring young people and women to become involved in new business projects and contributing to innovation infrastructure refurbishment, economic investment and diversification, and local management plans by the fisheries themselves; calls on the Commission to strengthen the role and functions of competent authorities in developing new innovative activities and to work in close coordination with the various sector operators;

14.  Calls on the Commission to help strengthen the role of fisheries communities in local development and the governance of local fisheries resources and maritime activities;

15.  Calls on the Commission to consider the particular role of women in the economy in coastal areas and to act consistently with this, as is already done in the agricultural industry; calls for an acknowledgement of the amount in terms of GDP that is contributed by women in auxiliary roles and of the particular relevance of their contribution in households in which gender‑based division of work traditionally meant that extraction was solely a male activity; calls for professional recognition at all levels of traditional female roles in the sector and for the setting up of dedicated programmes aimed at supporting entrepreneurship by women in these areas;

16.  Calls on the Commission to promote and support investment in the diversification of the fisheries sector through the development of complementary activities and the versatility of careers in fisheries, including investments in vessels, safety equipment, training, environmental services in the fisheries sector activities, and cultural and educational activities, with particular emphasis on protecting the environment and promoting sustainable growth; stresses that the key objective must be to fund activities that are socially, environmentally and economically viable and capable of creating employment, particularly for young people and women; stresses that marine aquaculture is compatible and complementary with coastal fishing in the outermost regions, and calls on the Commission to support the development of farming and varietal‑selection techniques in the warm waters of tropical or subtropical areas; calls on the Commission to highlight the role played by women in non‑industrial coastal fishing and all associated activities;

17.  Calls on the Commission to boost the creation and development of fishing tourism, with the aim of applying a differentiated business strategy that is appropriate to the potential of this segment and able to meet its needs more effectively, working towards a new form of tourism in which the key concerns are for quality, flexibility, innovation and preserving the historic and cultural heritage of fishing areas as well as the environment and health, among other aspects; calls on the Commission also to promote and support investment in fisheries in the area of tourism, in order to create differentiated tourism capacities by promoting gastronomy connected with non‑industrial fish products, angling tourism activities, underwater and diving tourism, etc., thereby sustainably capitalising on fishing heritage and the recognisability of a specific fishing region;

18.  Highlights the growing importance of nautical sporting activities in the strengthening of local communities, particularly out of season, through new underwater, diving or other nautical sports such as surfing or bodyboarding.

19.  Calls on the Commission, in the interests of boosting the creation and development of fishing tourism, to actively promote and support investment in the diversification of fisheries in the area of culture and art as part of traditional heritage (handicrafts, music and dance) and to support investment in the promotion of tradition, history and fishing heritage in general (fishing gears, techniques, historical documents, etc.) by opening museums and organising exhibitions that relate closely to coastal fishing;

20.  Calls on the Commission to look into the possibility of allowing mixed use of vessels intended for extractive activities so that, while still retaining this purpose, they may also accommodate other kinds of activities linked with the recreational and tourism sector, such as nautical information days or activities related to processing, learning or gastronomy, etc., in line with the system that operates in the rural sector involving farm schools or agrotourism;

21.  Calls on the Commission, and the Member States via their governing agencies, to ensure that small‑scale coastal fisheries receive their fair share of EMFF funding, particularly given the administrative constraints imposed on them;

22.  Calls on the Commission to create measures which encourage and promote mobility between professions related to the sea.

23.  Calls for the results of research and projects financed from the public budget to be made publicly available under certain conditions, for more effective disclosure of and access to existing data on seas and oceans to be ensured, and for the current administrative barriers hindering growth and the development of innovation to be removed;

24.  Urges the Commission to improve the regulations by introducing mechanisms to oversee the fair allocation of quotas to small‑scale fishing with regard to shared species;

25.  Emphasises that the main product of fishing is the fish itself and that it is vital to strengthen the various means of using fish, including canning and the use of fish by-products; calls on the Commission to actively promote and support investment in the diversification of fisheries in terms of the marketing and processing of local fish products and to boost the development of local distribution channels, the promotion of these products through the creation of local distinctive signs and/or trademarks for fresh products and by supporting the creation of local business projects aimed at carrying out these activities; stresses that promoting innovation in this manner must in particular include the development of labels and seals guaranteeing the quality of local fish products;

26.  Calls for greater flexibility with regard to logbooks for vessels of less than 12 metres, in particular in terms of the requirement that documents must be sent within 48 hours, as this represents a considerable administrative burden; proposes in this context to allow vessels that sell all of their fish at auction to be exempted from this obligation, which would enable the required information to be obtained without imposing an unnecessary administrative burden;

27.  Encourages the establishment of marine protected areas, which will promote sustainable fisheries resources and facilitate the control of and fight against IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing; stresses the need for the EU to provide adequate guidance, coordination and support to Member States in this respect;

28.  Calls for firm support for the work of women since they play an essential role in non-industrial fishing; stresses in particular the key tasks performed by women in the processing chain and their fundamental role in shellfishing;

29.  Notes that coastal fishing in the outermost regions is eligible for a compensation scheme recognised under the EMFF because of the significant additional costs it incurs; calls on the Commission to expand this scheme with the addition of a specific mechanism for the outermost regions that is similar to the POSEI scheme in the agricultural sector;

30.  Calls on the Commission to support the introduction of fresh produce obtained through non‑industrial fishing, shellfishing and small‑scale, sustainable, extensive aquaculture to public eating establishments (educational institutions, hospitals, restaurants, etc.);

31.  Stresses that the outermost regions have specific characteristics as a result of their remoteness and insular nature; emphasises that these specific characteristics incur additional costs for coastal fishing in these regions and that these additional costs should be compensated in full as part of the EMFF;

32.  Stresses that coastal fishing fleets in the outermost regions often consist of ageing vessels, which causes issues in terms of on-board safety; calls on the Commission to propose a revision of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the EMFF with a view to authorising aid for the renewal of small‑scale coastal fishing vessels in the outermost regions, providing this does not increase capacity;

33.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide access to marine and ecological data with a view to promoting transparency, innovation and development, and to guarantee access to all interested parties to scientific information developed with the support of public cofinancing;

34.  Stresses that the oceans and areas along and near to the coasts have a potential that remains largely unexplored in terms of development, employment, energy autonomy, innovation and sustainable development; considers that the EU’s recognition of this potential and of the role played by these areas would make these coastal, island and outermost regions more attractive and boost their development;

35.  Expresses concern at the application of the Horizon 2020 programme to the blue economy area, since it is the main programme for research and the development of innovation at European level; supports the creation of a blue economy Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) within Horizon 2020 which contributes to strengthening activities in coastal regions though transnational public-private partnerships;

36.  Supports the use of funds intended for innovation and blue growth to fund basic research, R&D, training, the setting up of companies, environmental protection and the launch of innovative products and processes on the market;

37.  Calls on the Commission to provide support as part of initiatives for the direct management of project financing, in which emphasis is placed on coastal fisheries and the development of coastal regions;

38.  Stresses the importance of environmental protection instruments, such as Environmental Impact Assessments for individual projects and Strategic Environmental Assessments for strategies, plans and programmes, which contribute to sustainable fisheries;

39.  Stresses the importance of the Integrated Maritime Policy for the future of fishing-dependent regions and understands that there must be an increasing commitment to the strategy of blue growth. The aim is to provide long-term support for sustainable growth in all marine and maritime sectors, acknowledging the importance of seas and oceans as the powerhouses which generate employment and create employment in the coastal regions;

40.  Stresses that coastal and island regions, as well as the outermost regions, are the main actors in the development of innovation and that they must be involved at every stage of the development of the blue economy;

41.  Stresses the importance of the EMFF, which has a particular focus on diversification and innovation in the fisheries sector, with a view to supporting fisheries which are socio‑economically and environmentally sustainable, innovative, competitive, effective and knowledge based; supports the need to strengthen funding for Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund with a view to supporting the members of fishing communities and improving their living standards by developing new activities; calls on the Commission to validate the regional versions of the EMFF as soon as possible;

42.  Stresses the importance of strengthening the relationship between local communities and universities/technology centres which will contribute decisively to the creation of new business incubators which enable the generation of new business ideas in the maritime sector;

43.  Calls on the Commission to actively promote projects which offer support for the strengthening of innovation and technological development, the objective of which is the development or introduction of new products, equipment, techniques, as well as new or improved systems for management and organisation; calls on the Commission to promote and encourage the exchange of information and the sharing of good practices between the different fishing areas so as to foster the development of innovative and sustainable fishing methods; considers it essential in this regard to incorporate modules for the training of entrepreneurs and for diversification in professional nautical and fishing schools;

44.  Calls on the Commission to encourage the creation of new, innovative businesses in fishing-dependent regions, providing an incentive for entrepreneurship and the creation of start-ups with a good possibility of success in the maritime sector, which will contribute to the diversification of the activity of traditional coastal fishing, create employment and attract or maintain the population;

45.  Calls on the Commission to use a selective approach when developing legislative proposals on the use of fishing gears and techniques so as to take into account the actual impact that these gears and techniques have on non‑industrial fishing resources in each of the relevant areas; calls on the Commission to ensure that any legislative initiatives are subject to a thorough prior impact assessment taking account of the specific factors that apply in each fishing area; feels that a non-selective approach to the use of fishing gears and techniques is having a serious impact on the viability of already marginalised coastal and island communities, causing further depopulation and hindering development and innovation; feels that positive discrimination should be applied to artisanal coastal fishing; believes that this approach, as with the case of the proposal to ban driftnets, suggests that the Commission is still adjusting to the decentralised reformed CFP which the co-legislators chose to adopt; reminds the Commission of its duty to operate within the framework of regionalisation as set out in the new CFP Regulation;

46.  Notes that coastal marine ecosystems are sensible and urges Member-States and the Commission to evaluate the environmental impact of any activities that could affect the sustainability of fish stocks, such as maritime transport, waste, transport, aquifer pollution, drilling activities or the construction of new tourist facilities along the coast, in accordance with the precautionary principle;

47.  Advises the Commission to give the highest importance to the socio-economic relevance of artisanal coastal fishing and small-scale fishing within the EU, the adoption of alternative methods of defining the segments of the fleet, and the importance of the diversification of the activity in strongly fishing-dependent coastal regions; notes the relevance of gathering a body of scientific information which facilitates better management of artisanal fisheries, in order to make them sustainable from a biological, social, economic and environmental point of view;

48.  Calls on the Commission to speed up the process of transposition of the social partners’ agreement on implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 of the International Labour Organisation into an appropriate EU legislative instrument;

49.  Calls on the Commission, in accordance with the expert classification of fishing gears set out in the Mediterranean Regulation, to take into account the differences between trawl nets and seine nets in order to give the best provisions towards the more sustainable use of each kind, taking into account the most recent scientific advice;

50.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that a review of the assessment of the status of fish stocks relevant to coastal fisheries is carried out, and stresses the need for an analysis of small-scale fishing’s impact on fish stocks, not forgetting more substantial techniques such as tuna fishing given that the species fished in coastal fisheries are extremely valuable in socio‑economic terms, even though they only account for a small proportion of total catches but are, nevertheless, very significant for the survival of those fishermen who rely on them for their daily earning;

51.  Expresses concern at the loss of traditional fishing techniques and skills due to unfavourable regulations that affect coastal communities;

52.  Calls on the Commission to amend the provision on the technical specifications for fishing nets, such as the minimal mesh size, the height of the net, the distance from the coast and depth at which nets may be used in order to ensure a more balanced harvesting of fish stocks and to preserve biodiversity;

53.  Calls on the Commission to amend the provisions of the existing regulation that prescribe the required distance from the coast and the depth at which fishing gears may be used to take account of the geographical specificities of border areas of Member States;

54.  Stresses the need for an amendment to the Regulation concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the ‘Mediterranean Regulation’, which was adopted in 2006 and which lays down rules on the technical characteristics of fishing gears and their uses; feels that this regulation must be brought into line with the new CFP, while keeping in mind that the basin is managed jointly with non‑EU countries, in particular the objective of maximum sustainable yield;

55.  Stresses the need for effective coordination between the Member States to ensure that fishermen are given timely and comprehensive information on the implementation of existing regulations and any amendments to them;

56.  Calls on the Commission to promote projects, in the context of cohesion policy, that will make a contribution to protecting coastal and island areas as traditional, cultural and historical fishing and maritime heritage areas;

57.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to use European funds to subsidise the sustainability certification of almadraba traps, in order to promote the recognition and contribution of this fishing method;

58.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.