EU fisheries chaos: Brussels latest tax proposal set to destroy 80 percent of EU fleets

French fisheries may be exposed in UK 'tit-for-tat' says expert

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The EU Commission is pushing for the reform of a directive on the framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity. But as the bloc struggles to cope with rising energy prices, such a move would cost 80 percent of fishing businesses in the bloc a chance to survive, according to Italian MEP Rosanna Conte.

Small businesses in the EU, including fisheries, enjoyed tax free provisions on fuel prices until now. But the EU executive is proposing new taxes on energy products to support its so-called Fit for 55 plans to tackle climate change.

The Lega MEP warned the move would destroy all small fisheries in the bloc, accounting for 80 percent of the whole industry.

She said: “EU policies and the rise in energy prices are posing a serious threat to fishermen, especially small businesses.

“The proposed recast of the Council Directive on the taxation of energy products and electricity (ETD) aims to promote the use of clean technologies: until now, fisheries, along with other sectors, have benefited from tax-free regimes on fuel prices.

“Together with the global increase in the cost of energy, this will have very serious repercussions on the European fishing sector, in particular the small-scale one which represents over 80 percent in the EU; among the consequences, the renunciation of fishing by many small operators with considerable economic losses on production.

“We cannot allow this to happen.

“We have submitted a question to the European Commission to ask whether in anticipation of ETD and price increases it intends to carry out a specific impact study for the fisheries sector and if it shares the concern about the serious effects of the ETD recast on small-scale fisheries: if so, it would be appropriate consider removing it from the scope or at least postponing its application.

“In the Fisheries Commission, the League requested and obtained to have an open-door discussion with the European Commission as soon as possible, in order to discuss the requests, fears and proposals of our fishermen, who await clear and concrete answers.”

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The bloc is also in turmoil over a row between France and the UK over post-Brexit fishing rights.

On Thursday, French authorities detained a British trawler.

Two boats were fined on Wednesday after one failed to comply with checks by police and the other was found not to hold a proper licence, according to the French maritime ministry.

Members of the fishing industry said the incident has been “politicised” by the French, who are “determined” to escalate the issue.

A statement posted by French maritime minister Annick Girardin said checks had been carried out by authorities on boats in the Baie de Seine, near Le Havre, in the north of the country.

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One trawler was fined for obstructing checks after it initially refused a request to be boarded by police, the statement said.

It was later not found to have been in breach of regulations.

The ministry said the second boat was not on a list of UK vessels with licences granted by the European Commission and France.

The boat was then ordered to divert to Le Havre.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “France’s threats are disappointing and disproportionate, and not what we would expect from a close ally and partner.

“The measures being threatened do not appear to be compatible with the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) and wider international law, and, if carried through, will be met with an appropriate and calibrated response.

“We will be relaying our concerns to the EU Commission and French government.

“The UK stands by its commitments in the TCA and has granted 98 percent of licence applications from EU vessels to fish in our waters.

“All our decisions have been fully in line with this commitment.

“We also support Jersey and Guernsey’s handling of fisheries licensing decisions, which has been entirely in line with the provisions of the TCA.”

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