EU to review State aid in fishery and aquaculture

The European Commission launched a consultation on the review of State aid framework concerning fishery and aquaculture, which is set to expire in September 2019. The European Commission’s subsequent proposal is expected to be adopted in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The review aims to secure consistency of the regulations and guidelines concerning the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), by questioning whether the current framework serves its objectives efficiently. This consultation comes at a crucial point as the two governing regulations expire at the end of 2020. The replacement of such instruments with a new regulation will be necessary for the upcoming period of 2021-2027.

The inception impact assessment mentions the possibility of fully aligning State aid framework to the post-2020 EMFF rules, which would result in a loose definition of aid measures eligible for block exemption. This would facilitate public investment, fomenting the industry’s growth while preserving competition by giving Member States more flexibility to implement State aid measures without prior European Commission approval.