Thursday, July 23, 2009

Well, somebody has to say it

In the post today is the current newsletter of The Fishermen's Association Ltd, a stalwart organization that has been fighting the Common Fisheries Policy for many a long year. Oh woops, got it wrong. Were we not told by the Taxpayers' Alliance that nobody actually paid any attention to the CFP until they decided to do so?

Sadly, FAL does not seem to have a website so I cannot link to it. Hmm, maybe I can make myself useful here.

Anyway, the newsletter has a splendid lead article, which I am going to have to type up, since I want as many people as possible outside FAL to read it:
CFP reform hopes are naive

On 16 June FAL Chairman Sandy Patience accompanied by Director James Buchan (also Scottish Ship Chanlers Association Chairman) and Roddy McColl met Conservative MSP John Scott, the Shadow Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment to discuss the Green Paper on the CFP review.

The stated policy of the Conservative party is "to work to reform the Common Fisheries Policy to achieve a fair deal for our fishermen".

We pointed out the impossibility of reforming a policy that has the fundamental princple of equal access to the common resource at its heart coupled with the exclusive competence for all living marine resources residing with the EU.

There is a somewhat naive and disturbing view abroad that the Green paper is a once in a lifetime opportunity to radically reform the current disgraced fisheries management system that has caused such misery for the UK fleet and fishing communities and also that Treaty obligations can be negotiated away.

FAL explained that rather than the Commission seeking to devolve decision making responsibility, which legally cannot be achieved as the principle of subisidarity does not apply to issues subject to exclusive competence, the real objective is to extend the Commission's powers as it proposes to impose sanctions on Member States, which do not comply with CFP objectives.

Such sanctions would take the form of suspension or reduction of EU funding, closure of the fisheries concerned or deduction of quotas and refusal of transfer and/or exchange of Member States' quotas.

Up to now, such measures were not foreseen in Community legislation, and the Commission resorted to the normal course of infringement proceedings before the Court of Justice (ECJ) against Member States allegedly not fulfilling their obligations.

However, the system now proposed, whereby the Commission both establishes a violation of EC law by a Member State and imposes sanctions, appears to contravene the logic of division of powers within the Community.
Apart from having some doubts about that logic of division of powers within the Community (but it sounds good) I could not have put it better myself. I wonder whether the Conservative MSPs listened to FAL. I wonder whether the Conservative Party as a whole, not to mention its front organizations, such as Open Europe and the Taxpayers' Alliance are interested in this pithy summary of the situation. I think I can guess the answer.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for typing that up. Having worked in fishery protection, when we were protecting our fish stocks from the French, Spanish and Russians, and used to visiting Grimsby, Hull Newlyn etc when the harbours were full of english fishing boats, that is of interest to me, if not to the Westminster government.