EU-UK agreement on 2021 fishing limits: a promising sign of cooperation, but still below the science, says Oceana
On Tuesday 25 May, the Regional Development Committee adopted its position on the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR), paving the way for the opening of negotiations with the Council on the final form of the tool. The draft report is approved with 35 votes in favor, one against and six abstentions.
The EUR 5 billion fund (at 2018 prices – EUR 5.4 billion at current prices) will be set up as a special instrument outside the budgetary ceilings of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2021-2027 .
MEPs want resources to be disbursed in three installments:
– pre-financing of € 4bn in two equal installments of € 2bn in 2021 and 2022;
– the remaining € 1 billion in 2025, distributed on the basis of expenditure declared to the Commission, taking into account pre-financing.
Method of attribution
Under this new method, Ireland will be by far the largest recipient in absolute terms, followed by the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium.
According to Parliament’s proposal, the reserve will support public expenditure incurred from July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2023, compared to the period from July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022 proposed by the Commission. The extension would allow member states to cover investments made before the end of the transition period on January 1, 2021, in anticipation of the expected negative effects of Brexit.
MEPs also called for financial and banking entities benefiting from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to be excluded from BAR support.
To be eligible for aid, measures must be specifically put in place in relation to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, including, support for:
– SMEs and the self-employed to overcome the increased administrative burden and operational costs;
– artisanal fishing and local communities dependent on fishing activities in UK waters (at least 7% of the national allocation for the countries concerned), and
– help EU citizens who have left the UK to reintegrate.
“We need to ensure that EU aid reaches the countries, regions, businesses and people most affected by Brexit. European businesses already suffering from the COVID-19 crisis should not pay twice for the Brexit debacle. This is why this reserve is so important and must be paid as soon as possible, on the basis of statistical and measurable data ”, argued Pascal Arimont (EEP, BE), rapporteur.
President of the regional development commission Younous Omarjee (La Gauche, FR), said: “The committee has shown remarkable unity. We have amended the regulation to make it as operational as possible, as close as possible to the expectations of the regions and sectors affected by the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. We are determined to act quickly and we expect the Council to show the same determination and, therefore, to show flexibility in the negotiations, in order to conclude the trialogue on time. “
Parliament is expected to confirm the draft mandate at its first plenary session in June. Talks with the Council will then start immediately with the aim of reaching a comprehensive agreement with the Portuguese Presidency in June.
On December 25, 2020, the Commission presented its Brexit adjustment reserve proposal, a financial tool to help EU countries counter the negative economic and social consequences of the British withdrawal.