Marine Scotland in Brussels

September 3, 2013 by No Comments | Category Uncategorized

Map of the EU

Map of the EU

As Brussels empties of tourists and refills with officials , the EU machine judders back into action. 

With everyone away not much  happens in Brussels over August.  So let’s focus on what’s coming up – a full smorgasbord of directives, regulations and all night negotiations. 


There are a couple of big bumps coming up on the EU road which will influence discussions and debates in Brussels over the coming months.

The most obvious of these is the forthcoming European elections for both the Parliament and European Commissioners which will take place in summer/spring next year. 

After the European Parliament elections in May 2014 the EU must fill several key roles:

• President of the European Commission

• President of the European Council

• High Representative/Vice President for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy

• 27 other members of the Commission

• a new President of the Parliament must be elected.

This substantial round of senior appointments will clearly affect the direction of the EU over the next five years.

 If you’d like to know more about this, there is a useful explanation of how the system works here:


Before all this we have German federal elections this September. Germany is the economic and political powerhouse of the EU.   All eyes across Europe will be watching the result keenly. 

Marine Priorities

Fisheries Division is preparing itself for the usual packed programme of scientific advice, stakeholder meetings and European discussions which will cumulate at the December Council in the setting of TACs and quota for 2014.

This year sees the welcome return of a single regulation (in recent years the regulation has been split into two, covering internal and external stocks separately).

While we are on fish, trade measures against the Faroe Islands came into force at the end of August.  This will hopefully engender a more constructive approach to negotiations on atlanto-scandian herring and mackerel.  Coastal states meet in London early September, and while we can expect the Faroese to be cross with the EU, they may also be more open to discussion. 3 other fisheries dossiers of relevance to Scotland will also be progressed this autumn.

The EMFF – The European Parliament has yet to agree a position at plenary meaning that trilogues for political agreement may not begin until late September/October.

Deep water stocks – The European Parliament has moved ahead swiftly with this dossier with a committee vote in September and a plenary vote in October.  As yet the Council has not yet considered the proposal.

CFP reform – technical amendments We expect a proposal from the Commission next month which would amend technical regulations to account for landing obligations introduced through reform of the CFP.  A fuller review of the Technical Conservation regulation is scheduled for next year.

Ocean renewables

Marine Scotland continues to promote the Scottish approach to marine planning and licensing, which is generally seen as best practice across the EU, with particular relevance to marine renewable licensing.  Marine Scotland have recently presented the Scottish system in a range of EU fora.  The North Sea Countries Offshore Grid Initiative (NSCOGI) meeting on 4 Sept in Brussels will also feature a Marine Scotland presentation. 

Marine Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management Directive

This will continue to demand a lot of attention over the coming months.  In the European Parliament the Transport Committee rapporteur, Gesine Meissner has produced a report which is, to a large extent aligned with Scottish and UK objectives, but still with some important differences of view.  Opinions are also being offered by the Peche and Environment committees on 5 Sept.

With the Lithuanians aiming to have political agreement on the Directive at the November General Affairs Council we are working closely with UK colleagues to mitigate against the worst aspects of the draft Directive.

Andrew Brown