The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)i is the fund for the EU’s maritime and fisheries policy during the period 2014-2020. The EU provides over €6 billion to this fund, which, when combined with Member State contributions, totals over €8 billion. In principle, the fund is designed to promote the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which is to ensure that EU fisheries are restored to good health and are managed sustainably – thus improving the economic, environmental and social performance of the fisheries sector. The EMFF was created to:
- Help fishers in their transition to sustainable fishing;
- Support coastal communities in diversifying their economies;
- Finance projects that create new jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts;
- Support sustainable aquaculture developments;
- Make it easier for applicants to access financing.
Environmental NGOs recommend that:
However, a 2018 report by the Danish Court of Auditors has found that large sums of EMFF money have been mismanaged in Denmark. While the report focuses on the situation in Denmark, it also prompts questions over how the EMFF has been managed in other EU countries.
EMFF decision-makers in Denmark and other EU Member States should take stock of the lessons learnt from this case study on the use and abuse of EMFF funds. Poor management and fraud must be detected and stopped. Taxpayers’ money cannot be misappropriated at the expense of environmentally sustainable fishing operations, or of the part of the fleet that needs support to improve their sustainability and viability.
In October 2018, the Danish Court of Auditors (Rigsrevisionen) published a report concerning the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ management of money from the EMFF, during the period 2014-2017. The support under the EMFF-programme in this period was DKK 875.4 million (approx. €117.18 million), of which the EU financed approximately 75%.
The Auditors strongly criticised the Danish authorities’ management of EMFF funds, with errors and irregularities in the management of the funds reported to have been “so extensive that it is an expression of a worrying and unusual administrative culture”.
Continue reading: Download PDF Briefing of Mismanagement of European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Sees Taxpayers’ Money Vanish into the Wrong Pockets