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Brussels, 16 April 2014
Questions and answers on the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
What is the EMFF?
The EMFF is the financial instrument that will help deliver the objectives of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and that will support the implementation of the EU Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP).
The EMFF will support the social dimension of the reformed CFP. It will focus on the sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture as well as support to growth and jobs in coastal communities across the EU.
The EMFF is part of the EU multi-annual financial framework for the 2014-2020 programming period. Its budget of € 6.5 billion is part of the overall envelope devoted to fisheries and maritime affairs. In addition to being the main source of financing for the reformed CFP, the EMFF budget also includes the financing of partnership agreements with third countries and contributions to regional fisheries management organisations.
What are the priorities of EMFF?
The EMFF focuses on the long-term objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth over the 2014-2020 period. It will contribute to sustainable and competitive fisheries and aquaculture, to a consistent framework for the Integrated Maritime Policy and to a balanced and inclusive territorial development of fisheries and aquaculture areas. These broad objectives are structured around six priorities within the EMFF:
In addition, the EMFF will include accompanying measures for voluntary payments to Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and technical assistance.
Who will benefit and how?
How is environmental sustainability ensured?
The EMFF includes funding opportunities for the protection of the environment through measures in support of fisheries resources management including the transition to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), the introduction of landing obligations, and the adoption of Long Term Management Plans. The EMFF will support, for example:
In addition, the budget for data collection and scientific advice (to increase the number of stocks for which scientific advice is available), and fisheries control (to ensure better compliance) has been substantially increased.
What about support to innovation?
The EMFF also includes measures with a strong focus on innovation in order to promote the development of new products and processes. The aim is to help the fisheries and aquaculture sectors to add value to their products, to reduce the environmental impact of their activities and to reduce production costs. This support is particularly important for the small scale coastal fleet.
Other measures will encourage co-operation between scientists and fishermen, with the aim of achieving more sustainable fishing.
The support for community-led local development in fisheries-dependent areas will also help disseminate innovation measures at local level.
The EMFF will seek to promote new forms of aquaculture with high potential for innovation and growth potential, such as offshore and non-food aquaculture (for example producing algae). Multifunctional aquaculture is an opportunity to diversify the income of aquaculture enterprises through complementary activities, such as angling, tourism, environmental services, direct sale or educational activities.
What about the social dimension?
In line with the Europe 2020 priority of inclusive growth, the EMFF will promote social cohesion and job creation in fisheries dependent communities, in particular through diversification into other maritime sectors. It will also bring reinforced support to the community-led approach to the sustainable development of fisheries areas.
The EMFF will also provide support for many forms of training in particular for unemployed youths and spouses or partners of fishers and fish farmers on activities related to fishing and to their role in the family business (i.e. helping them to acquire new business skills). Finally it will provide aid for business start-ups of young fishermen.
Small-scale coastal fleets are important for employment and often hold together the social fabric of coastal communities. The EMFF will give them priority and privileged access to funding, in particular by applying a higher rate of aid intensity. They will also be able to receive professional advice on business and marketing strategies, for example to start up an activity to generate additional income.
What about the Integrated Maritime Policy?
The EMFF will also support the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP), which facilitates coordination across borders and across sectors and brings about cost-effective synergies and money savings.
Funding will mainly focus on those initiatives that benefit various sectors across the board but cannot be accomplished by any single sector-based policy or single Member State. These are maritime spatial planning, integrated maritime surveillance and marine knowledge.
How to ensure that the money is correctly spent?
Along with the other European Structural and Investment Funds, the EMFF has a number of novel features which will ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness in the implementation of programmes:
Last but not least, funding under the EMFF is subject to new transparency rules: Member States will have to publish in a single website or a single website portal a list of operations supported under the EMFF along with the amount of EU contribution for each operation. This list will be updated at least every six months. This is particularly important to prevent that beneficiaries involved in illegal fishing activities receive funding.
What about simplifying and cutting red tape?
With the integration of five CFP and IMP financial instruments into a single regulation, all rules and procedures are streamlined and unified into a single set of financial decisions, reporting, monitoring and evaluation procedures.
Under the previous programming period there were no limits to how many times a project could be audited. This possibility could represent a disproportionate administrative burden for beneficiaries. Projects under a certain threshold will be audited only once and bigger projects no more than one time per accounting year.
The rules for implementing the EMFF will be the same as those for the Structural Funds (European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund etc). This will allow more efficient administrative gains for the Member states' administrations.
See also: IP/14/458