The European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee has provisionally agreed on a schedule for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy which will most likely prolong the process well into 2013 - The reform was initially intended to finish by the end of 2012.

The European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee has provisionally agreed on a schedule for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy which will most likely prolong the process well into 2013 - The reform was initially intended to finish by the end of 2012.

MEP Ulrike Rodust, the European Parliament’s “rapporteur” responsible for the negotiation of the new CFP basic regulation, has outlined her foreseen schedule. She intends to present a working document early next year, to be discussed with national parliaments in February. Throughout the first half of 2012, several hearings and workshops are planned, to discuss various elements of the proposals among MEPs and with stakeholders.

The Fisheries Committee is then expected to vote on Mrs. Rodust’s report in July, and the Plenary would vote in September, thus finalising the Parliament’s first reading process.

However, since Parliament and Council are co-legislators on most fisheries issues since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the Council of Ministers will have to negotiate the final legislation with the Parliament. Since the CFP is such a complex and politically sensitive package of legislation, it can be expected that the negotiations between Council and Parliament will continue well into 2013.

In the worst case scenario, if Council and Parliament do not agree on a final piece of legislation through normal channels, a conciliation procedure could last until early 2014. The current regulation is valid until the end of 2012.

The CFP reform process was launched early on, in late 2008, by Commissioner Joe Borg. His successor, Maria Damanaki, has been keen on having a radical reform, and has allowed significant time for consultation with the Member States, the Parliament and the various stakeholders.

After the publication of the Commission’s proposal in July 2011, the European Parliament has been delayed by internal struggles and conflict regarding the attribution of the rapporteurships for the different elements of the CFP reform package. An agreement has only been found in late September, which has significantly delayed any content-related discussions in that forum.

In the meantime, the Member States are steaming ahead and reviewing the proposal article by article. The Polish Presidency is expected to produce a summary of the main Member State positions by the end of the year, and the Danish Presidency will then chair negotiations on a common Council position in the first half of 2012.

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