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Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

Regulation 498/2007 lays down the detailed rules for the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) from 2007 to 2013 as regards the structure, submission and evaluation of operational programmes. It specifies measures, gives details regarding monitoring and control and establishes financial engineering instruments. Furthermore, this Regulation covers publicity and information and guarantees the protection of personal data.

ACT

Commission Regulation (EC) No 498/2007 of 26 March 2007 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 on the European Fisheries Fund [See amending act(s)].

SUMMARY

The mechanisms and implementing rules laid down in this Regulation result from the provisions concerning the basic European Fisheries Fund Regulation (EFF).

The purpose of the detailed implementing rules is to facilitate the establishment of operational programmes (Annex I) as well as their examination and the approval of these projects by the Commission. An operational programme must include geographical criteria (analysis of national or local circumstances, description of strengths and weaknesses) and a description of how the projects developed fit in with the priority axes specified in the Regulation. Operational programmes for which public expenditure does not exceed 90 million at 2004 prices are eligible for the specific arrangements provided for in the Regulation. The purpose of these detailed implementing rules is also to assist the examination and approval of these projects by the Commission.

The structural measures for fisheries seek to guide and facilitate the restructuring of the sector. This process is necessary to safeguard the future of the sector and promote sustainable fishing. In the light of this, no public aid leading to an increase in fishing effort is permitted.

Priority axes

The implementing rules are established on the basis of the priority axes of the European Fisheries Fund (See Annex I, part A):

  • measures to adapt the European Union fishing fleet. These include public aid for the permanent or temporary cessation of fishing activities. These measures also determine aid to small-scale coastal fishing and socio-economic compensation for the management of the European fishing fleet;
  • aquaculture, inland fishing, processing and on-farm retail sale of fishery and aquaculture products. The Regulation defines the scope of aid to aquaculture production. It also proposes measures for productive investments in aquaculture based on species classification, aqua-environmental measures and animal health measures. As regards inland fishing, support may be granted to vessels of less than 12 metres not using towed gear. The Regulation provides for aid for the processing of fish to extract substances harmful to human health (such as dioxins). Aid will also be prioritised to small and micro enterprises;
  • measures of common interest. These cover collective actions, in particular to create and restructure the plans of producers' organisations, protect flora and fauna, improve services offered by fishing ports, strengthen markets and promote partnerships between scientists and professionals in the fishing sector;
  • sustainable development of fisheries areas. The European Union will support local development strategies in order to diversify and strengthen fishing areas in decline. These fishing areas do not necessarily have to coincide with a national administrative area or with zones established by the Structural Funds. The Member States select groups for the implementation of the local development strategy.

Assessment

The Member States are to forward interim evaluations of these programmes by no later than 30 June 2011. The Commission may decide to interrupt the payment deadline where a Member State has not complied with its management, control and spending obligations.

Information and publicity

Member States or the managing authority must carry out information and publicity measures for the public and potential beneficiaries. In addition, the managing authority must ensure that information and publicity measures are aimed at the wider public, for example through the launch of the operational programme, presenting the programme's achievements and by flying the European Union flag (Annex II) for a week from 9 May in front of the managing authority's premises.

Financial engineering instruments

Financial engineering instruments must be in the form of actions such as socio-economic compensation for fleet management (see list in Annex III) which give rise to repayable investments, particularly to SMEs and micro enterprises, through venture capital funds, guarantee funds and loan funds.

The statement of expenditure (Annex IX) must, as regards financial engineering instruments, include the total expenditure paid in establishing or contributing to these instruments. At the partial or final closure of the operational programme the eligible expenditure is the total of any payments for investment in enterprises from each of the financial engineering instruments or any guarantees provided.

When the EFF finances operations comprising financial engineering instruments, including those organised through holding funds, a business plan must be submitted by the co-financing partners or shareholders or by their duly authorised representative. This plan must comply with the conditions laid down in Articles 35, 36 and 37 of this implementing Regulation.

Management, monitoring and control

The managing authority designated for the programme by the Member State (Annex XII) must ensure that beneficiaries are informed of the specific conditions concerning the products or services to be delivered under the operation, the financing plan, the time-limit for execution and the financial and other information to be kept and communicated. The checks carried out by the managing authority must cover the administrative, financial, technical and physical aspects of the operations. Each amount corresponding to an irregularity is identified by the reference number attributed to that irregularity or by another appropriate method.

Audits must be carried out on the spot (Annex V) on the basis of documentation and records held by the beneficiary. The audit authority may also carry out random statistical sampling of operations (see Annex IV).

Irregularities

In the event of irregularities Member States must notify the European Commission of the reasons for these. Where an irregularity could have an impact on other Member States, they must also be informed.

Electronic exchange of data

The exchange of data between each Member State and the Commission must be carried out using a computer system established by the Commission which permits the secure exchange of data between the Commission and each Member State.

The computer system for data exchange contains information on:

  • the financing plans for operational programmes (model set out in Annex I, part B);
  • declarations of expenditure and applications for payment (model set out in Annex IX);
  • the annual statement on withdrawn and recovered amounts and pending recoveries (model in Annex X);
  • annual forecasts of likely applications for payment (see Annex XIII);
  • the financial section of the annual reports and final implementation reports (model set out in Annex XIV, point 3.3).

The computer system must also contain documents and information of common interest such as the operational programme (Annex I, part A), the Commission decision concerning the contribution of the EFF, the annual and final reports on implementation (model Annex XIV), the audit strategy (Annex V) and a description of the management system (Annex XII, part A).

Member States and the Commission must take all necessary measures to guarantee the protection of personal data.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 498/2007

30.5.2007

-

OJ L 120, 10.5.2007

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EU) No 1249/2010

12.1.2011

-

OJ L 341, 23.12.2010

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 498/2007 have been incorporated in to the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Last updated: 17.03.2011
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