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Friday, 13 May 2011

Fishermen need help to cope with high oil prices

Emergency measures are needed to help fishermen suffering from high oil prices, says the European Parliament. It believes the current ceiling on state aid should rise from €30,000 to €60,000 per company and new technologies be used to improve energy efficiency. A long-term approach is required to avoid similar problems in future. The current high oil prices have had a severe impact on operating costs of fishermen, even forcing some to stop work. Parliament calls on the Commission to introduce emergency measures including raising the current ceiling for state aid from €30,000 to €60,000 per company for a transitional period of three years. These temporary measures should not result in unfair competition between Member States, says the resolution, which was tabled by several political groups and adopted by 369 votes to 203 with 27 abstentions. The possibility should be explored of temporarily financing the support measures from margins of the EU fisheries budget for as long as no other type of measure is implemented, argues Parliament. To avoid similar problems caused by oil price volatility in future, MEPs ask Commission to come up with a medium and long-term plan for improving fuel efficiency in the fisheries industry and to promote investment in new technology at European and national level to increase energy efficiency and reduce the fishermen's dependence on fossil fuels. Efforts to improve fuel efficiency should also become an integral part of the upcoming CFP (Common Fisheries Policy) reform, believes Parliament. The reform of the European Fisheries Fund should ensure that aid continues to be granted above all to small scale coastal and traditional fishermen.

Source: European Parliament