Saturday, 8 February 2014

Balance of Competences Review

The government (that's the one in the UK not the real one in Brussels) has been conducting a balance of competences review on various subjects, as this blog mentioned some time ago. FAL has submitted its statement on the subject of fisheries and there is a summary in the latest Newsletter:

There is being undertaken by the UK coalition Government a Balance of Competences review between the powers of the UK and the EU and how this affects the UK national interest. Part of this review calls for evidence on fisheries policy and is part of a wider cross Whitehall initiative considering 32 policy areas “designed to provide a constructive and serious contribution to the wider EU debate about how to modernise, reform and improve the EU.”

However some might consider it to be window dressing to appease the Conservative Eurosceptic MPs. Be that as it may let’s consider the following:

David Cameron has talked about a new settlement, a new relationship with Europe or more correctly with the EU.

Not to put too fine a point on it, this is stuff and nonsense.

The reason is the existence in EU law of the “acquis communautaire” - the entire body of EU laws, including all the Treaties, Regulations and Directives passed by the Institutions, as well as judgements laid down by the Court of Justice.

The “acquis” for fisheries is free access to waters on a non discriminatory basis for all member states' fleets (access to resources being based on the principle of relative stability for regulated species and unrestricted for non-regulated species).

1. In 1981 the European Court of Justice ruled that the EEC had exclusive competence to adopt fisheries conservation measures in Member States waters

2. EU exclusive prescriptive competence implies that Member States are precluded from any law-making.

3. Member States may not act validly unless treaties or secondary provisions say so.

FAL has just submitted its response to the above Review. It highlights a number of facts and opinions that demonstrate that exclusive competence is the chokepoint for a successful UK fishing industry; that it has resulted in the destruction of businesses and communities and that unless such competence is returned to the UK, further reduction of the British fleet and the communities it supports is inevitable.

Anyone interested in obtaining a copy of this submission by email please contact me at

It is worth remembering that any organization or, even individuals with specialist knowledge can submit a response to the Review.


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