EU ministers seek consensus on fishing quotas

Brussels – As the last session of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council under the Slovenian EU presidency got under way on Sunday in a bid to reach a political agreement on the fishing quotas for 2022, Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek said he expected the talks to be tough but was confident a balanced solution would be found.

In a statement released by the Slovenian government on its Twitter profile, Podgoršek described talks on fishing opportunities in EU and non-EU waters, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea as one of the most important topics of the Slovenian presidency.

The negotiations started weeks ago and are ongoing, but as the Council chair Podgoršek is optimistic and believes the ministers will reach a conclusion. “We will find agreement that will be acceptable for all sides. We will make sure all three sustainability pillars are taken into account.”

He noted the environmental, social and economic aspects, concerning the state of fish stocks, protection of the fishing communities and finding a way for the long-term survival of the fishing industry.

“We will dedicate all our energy in this final phase of talks,” the minister said, anticipating a tough session ahead. According to a release published by the Council of the EU, the ministers today held only an initial exchange of views on fishing opportunities for 2022.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meets in December each year to set the following year’s catch limits. Its decision is based on a proposal drawn up by the European Commission, taking into account the best available scientific advice, the aims of the common fisheries policy and the maximum sustainable yield set for each species.

The two-day session, which concludes on Monday, will also discuss the fisheries control regulation and adopt conclusions on a contingency plan for ensuring food security.

The ministers will also debate unfair trading practices in the food supply chain and the state of play in the preparation of strategic plans for the Common Agricultural Policy, as well as the fight against deforestation, illegal logging and degradation.