President Barroso says that the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is an opportunity for "root and branch reform" during the Spring Alliance conference.

The Spring Alliance is a broad-based movement pushing for an EU that places people and planet at the centre of policymaking. It was established by four leading civil society organisations – the European Environmental Bureau (a member of Seas At Risk), the European Trade Union Confederation, Social Platform and Concord – and is composed of groups and individuals from civil society and beyond.

Civil society representatives came together at the European Economic and Social Committee at a High Level Conference with participation of José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, the European Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas and Ola Alterå, State Secretary to Maud Olofsson, Minister for Enterprise and Energy of Sweden.

During his intervention, Mr Barroso expressed support for the Spring Alliance manifesto text on unsustainable fishing, which was drafted by Seas At Risk. The President of the Commission said that the Spring Alliance was right to highlight unsustainable fishing in the document. He added:
“In April this year, we launched a major debate on the future of the Common Fisheries Policy. We are legally bound to review certain elements of it in 2012, but have decided to seize the opportunity for a root-and-branch reform. “
Mr Barroso added that “we must make ecological sustainability the basic premise of the policy; economic and social sustainability will follow from that. “

He also used the opportunity to express his disappointment at the fact that Member States did not unanimously back a proposal to the support the temporary ban on international trade in Atlantic blue fin tuna under CITES. The European Commission have backed the proposal originally made by Monaco as an attempt to protect the species from extinction.

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