On 4 December 2020, the Commission, the Council and the Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) for the period of 2021-2027.
In line with the objectives of the European Green Deal and Sustainable Development Goal 14, it provides an ambitious support package for the achievement of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, the development of local coastal communities, the promotion of a sustainable blue economy, the implementation of the Union’s maritime policy towards safe and sustainably managed seas and oceans, and for international ocean governance.
Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius welcomed the agreement: "With the new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, we will be able to invest in improving the health, safety and working conditions on board fishing vessels, while at the same time ensuring that the EU fleet is sustainable. We made sure that no subsidy at EU level would risk harmful effects leading to overfishing and overcapacity, something the Commission has been most vigilant about throughout the process. This agreement also sends a strong signal for the ongoing negotiations on fisheries subsidies at WTO level."
The provisional agreement includes support for investments in the fishing fleet as a way to enhance their sustainability and safety. In this respect, the co-legislators agreed with the safeguards proposed by the Commission to prevent the risks of harmful overfishing and overcapacity. The three institutions also agreed on a crisis management scheme to allow emergency support to the fishery and aquaculture sector in case of a significant disruption of the market. Following this agreement, and the agreement on the Common Provisions Regulation earlier this week, the framework for the new EMFAF is complete. Once formally endorsed by all institutions and upon final adoption of the EU long-term budget for 2021-2027, it would allow Member States to finalise their national plans so that the funds can reach the beneficiaries as soon as possible.