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EU reform (from within) is both possible and achievable

April 5, 2016 10:44 AM
Originally published by East Suffolk Liberal Democrats

No one would deny that the European Union needs reform in certain areas (such as the Common Agricultural Policy). But history has shown that reform is both possible and achievable, by working from within the EU, as demonstrated by changes to the Common Fisheries Policy.

When the UK joined the EEC, the Common Fisheries Policy enforced national quotas for the types of fish that could be caught in specific areas. These quotas were set too high for sustainability, and when catches exceeded quotas, fishermen discarded the surplus, leading to shocking levels of wastage, high prices and a disastrous drop in fish stocks. Following a public debate launched by the Commission in 2009, reform of the EU's policy was introduced in 2013, with measures to protect endangered stocks (through the principle of maximum sustainable yield) and to end discards.

Hugo Dixon writes that "the Commission now only sets the general framework and overall targets. The UK and other fishing nations decide how to implement the policy, collaborating with each other as necessary. The moral of this tale is that even the ugliest of EU policies can be reformed."

Sources:

http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/reform/

Reforming the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): Building a brighter future for fish and fishermen, European Commission (Maritime Affairs and Fisheries): http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/publications/reform-leaflet_en/files/assets/basic-html/page1.html

The In/Out Question (4th edition), by Hugo Dixon (Scampstonian Ltd, 2016)