The Regulation (EU) 2020/560 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2020 amending Regulations (EU) No 508/2014 and (EU) No 1379/2013 as regards specific measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID‐19 outbreak in the fishery and aquaculture sector, amending the Regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the Regulation on the Common Organisation of the Markets in Fishery and Aquaculture Products, came into force on Saturday, 25 April 2020.
The new Regulation is a result of the ministerial videoconference organised by Croatia as the Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The videoconference chaired by Minister Marija Vučković was held on 25 March 2020 with the objective of identifying a state of play as well as possible responses to the challenges in agriculture and fisheries caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference was attended by EU Ministers in charge of agriculture and fisheries as well as two Commissioners, Janusz Wojciechowski for Agriculture and Virginijus Sinkevičius for Fisheries.
Among new measures, we highlight the following:
-additional flexibility in the allocation of budgetary funds among certain priorities and measures in the operational programme
-support for temporary cessation of fishing activities, taking into account new vessels, with the highest co-financing rate of 75% of eligible public expenditure
-possibility of the allocation of working capital and compensation for reduced production or sales and additional costs of storage and processing for producers
-reintroduction of the support for producer organisations.
Expenditure for the operations receiving support on the basis of these new measures will be eligible from 1 February 2020 onwards.
“The Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with stakeholders from the fishery and aquaculture sector has identified measures that would provide the best and quickest support to our fishery sector and we have championed this, among other things. European ministers in charge of fisheries have reached an agreement on the measures to be taken to help the sector and these measures have become effective today. Cooperation between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council and us as the Presidency has been very intense over the past month and the result is even more favourable than in our best-case scenario. I thank everybody who has taken part in this process under these deteriorated working conditions and managed to accomplish the lion's share of the work within just one month. In parallel, the work is underway on the measures of support to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic in the agricultural sector. Several times, the Commission has presented its proposals for solutions arising from joint initiatives at the level of the Council of Ministers and soon we shall have a new videoconference dedicated to this topic. I welcome the Commission's efforts, but it is necessary to assess the potential impact of these measures and see whether they are sufficient in this situation or whether some new ones should be sought.”
Marija Vučković, minister of agriculture