The Lisbon Treaty has important effects on the way fisheries measures will be adopted.

The way fisheries decisions will be taken once the Lisbon Treaty comes into force on 1st December 2009 will change.

The Lisbon Treaty has important effects on the way fisheries measures will be adopted.

The way fisheries decisions will be taken once the Lisbon Treaty comes into force on 1st December 2009 will change.


Until now, EC legislation on fisheries and aquaculture were adopted in line with the consultation procedure . Under the consultation procedure, the Council of Ministers can, on a proposal from the European Commission, adopt EC legislation on CFP matters. The Council must nevertheless consult the European Parliament’s opinion on the proposal before voting on it. However, the Council is not bound by the Parliament’s opinion. Consequently, the Parliament only has limited power under the current legislative procedure in that it has to hope for its work to be taken into account by the Council.

Once the Lisbon Treaty will come into force on the 1st of December 2009, most matters falling under the CFP will have to be adopted in accordance with a new legislative procedure, the co-decision procedure . Co-decision is the legislative procedure whereby a proposal from the Commission is negotiated and adopted jointly by the Council and the Parliament. As a result, the Parliament will cease to be a mere consultative institution and be placed on an equal footing with the Council in the decision-making process: neither the Council, nor the Parliament can adopt a legislative act without the agreement of the other. The expected timespan between the publication of a proposal by the Commission and the moment of its adoption by the Parliament and the Council will inevitably take longer under this new procedure, and is expected to take two years.

Having said this, not all CFP matters will have to be adopted in line with the new legislative procedure. Measures on the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities can continue to be adopted by the Council on a proposal from the Commission without the involvement of the Parliament .

It is therefore crucial to distinguish between proposed measures concerned with the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities and all other proposed CFP measures. This distinction will be particularly relevant for the adoption of the yearly Council Regulations on Fishing Opportunities. In fact, this exception was included specifically in view of the timely adoption of Council Regulations on Fishing Opportunities. As the scientific advice on which the annual Commission’s proposals on fishing opportunities are based typically only becomes available in October, and the Commission’s proposals follow in November, it would be virtually impossible to reach agreement within the Parliament and the Council and between the Parliament and Council by December, when the annual Fishing Opportunities Regulations are to be adopted. In this context, it must be highlighted that future Council Regulations on Fishing Opportunities will significantly differ from those adopted until now, as future Council Regulations on Fishing Opportunities may only include provisions which are functionally linked to the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities. For all other measures, agreement from the Parliament will be required and must thus be proposed as a separate legislative text. More specifically this means that all technical and control provisions, which were included in the annexes of the annual fishing opportunities regulations in the past, must be excluded in future Council Regulations on Fishing Opportunities. In this respect, the Control Regulation and proposed Technical Measures Regulation are of particular importance. The Control Regulation was adopted at the October Council and the Technical Measures Regulation was intended to be adopted at the November Council but did not receive sufficient support from the member states. It will be reconsidered by the Council in spring 2010. The purpose of the (proposed) Regulations is to provide for permanent provisions, thus replacing the transitional measures currently applied annually through Annexes of the yearly Council Regulations on Fishing Opportunities. Moreover, the Technical Measures Regulation would confer the power from the Council to the Commission to adopt Commission Regulations on purely technical matters without the involvement of the Parliament and the Council through the Management Comitology Procedure. The Comitology procedure would render the adoption of technical measures easier, faster and more flexible, thereby ensuring a more rapid adaptation to changing circumstances and keeping the CFP workable after the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty.

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