Letter to Peter Jahr MEP on the  Voluntary Coupled Support provisions in the CAP reform dossier

Letter to Peter Jahr MEP on the Voluntary Coupled Support provisions in the CAP reform dossier

>> Read the full letter here <<

Dear Mr Jahr,

I am writing to you with regard to the Voluntary Coupled Support provisions in the CAP reform dossier under your rapporteurship.

I am a political activist with the EPP – Nationalist Party – in Malta and ran with my colleagues Roberta Metsola and David Casa for the last European election. My campaign and message were heavily oriented towards the need to adapt the European project to respond to the aspirations and the particular context of the Maltese islands.

My visits to farms, fields and greenhouses revealed how the Maltese farmer was largely suffering EU membership rather than benefiting from it due to serious competitiveness issues and years of missed adaptation.

The upcoming CAP reform can make this worse, or better. The provisions on voluntary coupled support right now enable large sectors of our agricultural communities to remain competitive thanks to workable processing relationships and with relatively minimal support. The voluntary coupled support in the tomato sector, for instance, ensures that Maltese farmers can sell their sun-ripe tomatoes for processing into tomato sauce and the Maltese famous ‘kunserva’, exported also to Germany. The VCS is the little trigger that allows a whole system to thrive. Should this come missing, the Maltese tomatoes will, almost certainly, be replaced with Chinese mass produced tomato paste imported in the mega tonnes. I am sure that this is not our common intention for the common market.

That would happen if you do not change the text voted by the European Parliament. The text of the last vote in plenary includes an arbitrary capping to VCS which is tailored on much bigger territories. It would have a disproportionate, and I guess, unintended, impact on farming in Malta.

Malta is 30 kilometers wide(!) – we need the VCS provisions to be capped in a different manner. For this reason, I plead on you, as a representative of the peoples of Europe, to consider accepting the text of the Council of Ministers in your upcoming trialogue negotiations, and in particular the proviso to sub-Article 5 of Article 86 and namely: ”By way of derogation from the first and second subparagraphs, Member States may choose to use up to EUR 3 million per year for financing coupled income support. ”. Apart for being a de minimis provision in the context of the relevant provisions, this proviso would allow for the Union to legislate for a sound CAP reform while respecting the particular setting of small member states like Malta.

With kind regards and appreciation for your consideration,

Peter Agius

Risposta tal-Kummissajru Sinkevičius għall-ittra tiegħi

Risposta tal-Kummissajru Sinkevičius għall-ittra tiegħi

Aqra’ l-ittra hawn >> Risposta tal-Kummissajru Sinkevičius għall-ittra tiegħi

Brussels MARE.D.1/JB/

Subject: Reported incidents at sea in the dolphinfish fishery

Dear Mr Agius,

Thank you for your recent letter to Commissioner Sinkevičius on the serious incidents that were recently reported in the Mediterranean in the context of the dolphinfish fishery.

As you are aware, the fight against illegal fishing is one of the Commissioner’s priorities, as is the safety of fishermen at sea. In this context I would like to reassure you that the Commission takes the events you referred to very seriously. I also thank you for having communicated with us last year to help raise awareness on this issue.

Firstly, I would like to recall that, as a general matter, the EU supports countries such as Tunisia, through its neighbourhood policy, in fulfilling their international obligations.

As you indicated yourself, these types of incidents are not new. In close cooperation with the Maltese authorities, we have prepared last year GFCM measures, which were eventually adopted and entered into force on 18 April 2020. This is Recommendation GFCM/43/2019/1 on a set of management measures for the use of anchored fish aggregating devices in common dolphinfish fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea. It provides for a framework at international level to address this recurring problem. The adoption of this recommendation is an important development for the management and governance of this fishery. In particular, as you might know, it provides for a prohibition to fish under Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) that have been set up by vessels from another country, as well as the possibility to adopt a code of conduct for this fishery.

We have recently met with the Maltese authorities to discuss how the Commission could further support Malta to address this situation. We are currently exploring with them how to best involve the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) in this matter in support of the control of the GFCM measures, and in particular the prohibition for non-Maltese vessels to fish under Maltese FADs. This would provide added benefits to the patrol means already employed by the Maltese Government. In cooperation with other Member States, notably Italy, we are also considering reinforcing the control of catch certificates for imported dolphinfish, in order to detect possible illegally caught fish on the EU market.

In the longer term, we are reflecting about all other possible actions we could carry out in the future in accordance with the GFCM recommendation.

As you can see, we can congratulate ourselves for the adoption of the GFCM dolphinfish recommendation, which provides us with new and meaningful leverage to address these incidents. We are now working on using this leverage in the interest of improving governance in the dolphinfish fishery and protect Maltese fishermen and their activities.

Yours sincerely,

Veronika VEITS

Acting Director


Ittra lil Virginijus Sinkevičius dwar is-sajd għall-lampuki

Ittra lil Virginijus Sinkevičius dwar is-sajd għall-lampuki

Lil Virginijus Sinkevičius, Kummissarju Ewropew għall-Affarijiet Marittimi u s-Sajd

cc. Charlina Vitcheva Direttriċi Ġenerali għall-Affarijiet Marittimi u s-Sajd

cc. Valerie Laine, Kap tal-Unita

Il-Kummissjoni Ewropea


Għażiż Kummissajru,

Fis-sittax ta’Jannar 2019 ktibt lis-servizzi tiegħek fejn spjegajt fid-dettall is-sitwazzjoni fl-ibħra Maltin u dawk konfinanti dwar is-sajd għall-lampuki (coryphaena hippurus). Il-Kummissjoni irrispondiet l-ittra tiegħi (Ref. Ares(2019)1566697 – 08/03/2019) u wara ressqet proposti fi ħdan il-GFCM biex jiġu rikonoxxuti u protetti l-kannizzati tas-sajjieda Maltin u Għawdxin. Ta’ dan nirringrazzjak.

L-isfond ta’ din it-talba li qed nagħmel illum jibqa dak deskritt fl-ittra tas-16 ta’ Jannar. Sfortunatment, u minkejja li issa jeżistu disposizzjonijiet aktar ċari tal-GFCM, u minkejja wegħda pubblika mill-awtoritajiet Maltin li jkunu preżenti fl-ibħra konċernati, is-sitwazzjoni ma’ tjiebet xejn, tant li sa din il-ġimgħa stess daħlu rapporti li s-sajjieda Maltin u Għawdxin qed jerġgħu jisfaw misruqa kontinwament mis-sajjieda Tuneżini li qed jaħsdu l-frott li jkunu żergħu u kkultivaw huma – u ċioe, jistadu fuq il-kannizzati li jkunu ġew preparati mis-sajjieda Maltin u f’ħafna każijiet jagħmlu ħsara irreparabbli lill-istess kannizzati.

Jeħtieġ nindirizzaw din il-kwistjoni b’mod aktar dirett mal-awtoritajiet Tuneżini kif ukoll malawtoritajiet Taljani. Nitolbok ġentilment għaldaqstant tikkunsidra dawn id-domandi għal risposta kif ukoll għal azzjoni immedjata (ġialadarba l-istaġun huwa limitat u jagħlaq f’Diċembru) min naħa tiegħek:

1. Tikkonferma li l-Unjoni Ewropea tat fondi lit-Tuneżija biex il-bastimenti Tuneżini jkunu ekwipaġġjati bi tracking system VMS (VesselMonitoring System)?. Jidher li tali fondi jinkludu apparat għal control room, taħriġ għal spetturi Tunezini biex ikunu kompetenti jaħdmu fil-control room kif ukoll VMS tracking systems għal fuq ilbastimenti nfushom li skont ir-rakkomandazzjoni tal-GFCM huma obbligatorji għal kull bastiment akbar minn 15-il-metru. Nitlob ġentilment l-assistenza tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea biex tivverifika jekk it-tali tracking systems hux qed jintużaw kif mistenni mill-bastimenti Tuneżini li jistadu fl-ibħra internazzjonali u jekk dan huwa l-każ, jistgħux l-awtoritajiet Tuneżini jagħtu rapport dettaljat tas-sajd ta’ bastimenti Tuneżini fl-ibħra fil-Lbiċ u fil-Majjistral ta’ Malta fejn is-sajjieda Maltin għandhom it-tagħmir tagħhom.

2. L-Aġenzija Ewropea tal-Kontroll tas-Sajd għandha kompetenza biex tissorvelja losservanza tar-regoli fl-ibħra internazzjonali. Dan diġà qed isir regolarment u b’ċerta effiċjenza fis-sajd għat-tonn. Fil-fehma tiegħek, ikun għaqli li din l-Aġenzija tissorvelja s-sajd għall-lampuki fl-ibħra konċernati u taġixxi b’deterrent għas-sajd illegali fuq skaptu privat?

3. Bħal ma nafu, biex tindirizza sajd illegali trid tindirizza s-suq tiegħu. Jiena infurmat li uħud mill-bastimenti Tuneżini involuti fis-sajd illegali fuq skaptu ta’ sajjieda Maltin u Għawdxin jidħlu f’portijiet Taljani sabiex ibiegħu il-qabda tagħhom. Insaqsi lillKummissjoni Ewropea jekk dina tistax titlob rapport dettaljat, kif suppost isir taħt irregoli viġenti, dwar il-landings ta’ lampuki fil-portijiet Taljani u partikolarment dawk li jsiru minn bastimenti Tuneżini awtorizzati biex iħottu f’portijiet Taljani. Insaqsi wkoll jekk il-Kummissjoni Ewropea flimkien mal-awtoritajiet Taljani hix f’posizzjoni li tidentifika u tindirizza każijiet suspettati ta’ frodi tas-sajd fejn bastimenti mhux awtorizzati jħottu f’portijiet Taljani jkunu qed jittrasferixxu l-qabda tagħhom fuq bastimenti li jkunu hekk awtorizzati. Nitlob ukoll li l-azzjoni taħt dan il-punt tiġi abbinata l-azzjoni taħt punt 1, u ċioe, li jsir monitoraġġ tal-moviment tal-bastimenti Tuneżini mill-ibħra konċernati sal-portijiet Taljani u viċe versa.

4. Teżisti l-possibilita’ li l-bastimenti involuti fis-sajd illegali in kwistjoni jkun qed joperaw mingħajr il-Vessel Monitoring System minkejja li din hija obbligatorja skont id-disposizzjonijiet tal-GFCM. Nitlob f’dan il-kuntest li l-Kummissjoni Ewropea titlob rendikont mill-awtoritajiet Tuneżini u mis-Segretarjat tal-GFCM dwar limplimentazzjoni ta’ dawn l-obbligi u nsaqsi jekk huwiex possibbli għall-Kummiss joni Ewropea u l-GFCM li jsiru spot checks abbażi tar-ritratti ta’ bastimenti Tuneżini meħuda b’mod regolari mis-sajjieda Maltin (3 ritratti reċenti mehmuża għal dan ilgħan).

Nirringrazzjak tal-konsiderazzjoni tiegħek u nistenna mingħandek,

Peter Agius

Kandidat għall-Elezzjoni Ewropea


Anness – Ritratti ta’ bastimenti Tuneżini mehmuża:

>> Link għall-ittra formali li intbgħatet fid-9 ta’ Settembru <<

Il-Kummissjoni Ewropea se tindirizza d-diffikultajiet tas-sajjieda Maltin wara l-insistenza tal-PN

Il-Kummissjoni Ewropea se tindirizza d-diffikultajiet tas-sajjieda Maltin wara l-insistenza tal-PN

Il-Kummissjoni Ewropea kkonfermat li se tieħu miżuri sabiex tindirizza d-diffikultajiet li qegħdin jaffaċċjaw s-sajjieda Maltin li jistadu għal-lampuki, b’sajjieda Tuneżini li jistadu illegalment bil-kannizzati tagħhom. Din il-konferma min-naħa tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea waslet wara l-laqgħat li kellu l-kandidat għall-elezzjoni tal-Parlament Ewropew Peter Agius fl-aħħar ġimgħat ma’ uffiċjali għolja tal-Kummissjoni fi Brussell.

Filwaqt li l-Unjoni Ewropea introduċiet regolamenti ġodda, naqset milli tipprovdi wens u protezzjoni meħtieġa lis-sajjieda Maltin. Matul il-laqgħat, Peter Agius spjega kif is-sajd bil-kannizzati għal-lampuki tirrikjedi preparazzjoni minn xhur qabel mis-sajjieda u tressqu provi miġbura mil-laqgħat mas-sajjieda Maltin li juru bastimenti Tuneżini jiksru l-liġi, u kif għal din is-sitwazzjoni jeħtieġ soluzzjoni Ewropea u koperazzjoni internazzjonali mal-awtoritajiet Tuneżini.

Min-naħa tagħha, il-Kummissjoni Ewropea qalet li se tkun qed taħdem fil-qrib mal-awtoritajiet Maltin sabiex tevalwa din il-problema u tesplora possibilitajiet ta’ azzjoni. Se tikkunsidra wkoll miżuri li jistgħu jittieħdu fil-Kummissjoni Ġenerali tas-Sajd fil-Mediterran (GFCM) sabiex din it-tip ta’ attività tiġi irregolata bl-aħjar mod, filwaqt li lesta teżamina s-sitwazzjoni f’oqsma oħra tas-sajd inkluż għall-pixxispad, li jużaw l-istess tip ta’ tagħmir sabiex jinstabu soluzjonijiet xierqa.

Il-Kummissjoni Ewropea żiedet li qed taħdem biex tistabbilixxi governanza ġdida fil-Mediterran permezz tal-implimentazzjoni tad-Dikjarazzjoni MedFish4Ever bil-għan li tiżgura kundizzjonijiet ġusti u ugwali għas-sajjieda u sajd sostenibbli.

Fi stqarrija maħruġa mill-istess Peter Agius flimkien mad-deputat Edwin Vassallo, il-PN insista illi wara din il-pożizzjoni tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea, se jibqa’ jsir monitoraġġ tas-sitwazzjoni mal-uffiċjali responsabbli sabiex il-Kummissjoni ma tkaxkarx saqajha fuq din il-kwistjoni.

Farmers trapped between local and EU bureaucracy

Farmers trapped between local and EU bureaucracy

Farmers, particularly from Kerċem in Gozo, are being drowned in bureaucracy to apply both for local permits, or EU funding, when it comes to maintaining their farms and making a living.

Some farmers lost their greenhouses to adverse weather years ago and still haven’t managed to fix the damage which also affects their product yield and profit margins. In fact, three men spoke to Newsbook.com.mt just last week about the issues that local farming has to deal with, including having to directly compete with imports.

PN MEP candidate, Peter Agius, posted on Facebook this morning after meeting Gozitan farmers to discuss possibly ways forward. He suggested that planning permits need to be facilitated, and fees eliminated for farming; as well as guaranteeing replies about European funding within 6 months.

Agius turned his attention towards the Government in his post saying that the only way for this to happen would be to have dedicated officials who consider farming a priority,rather than emphasising that “it doesn’t contribute to the Gross Domestic Product”, as Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said in his Budget 2019 speech.


Read full article on Newsbook


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Do we care about our Farmers? by Peter Agius