The European Commission has decided to activate new crisis measures to support the fishery and aquaculture sectors in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The crisis mechanism of the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) will bring immediate relief to operators of the fishery, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors through financial compensation for their economic losses and additional costs. It will enable member states to grant financial compensation to operators for income foregone due to the current market disruption, as well as “storage aid” to producer organizations. This step comes in addition to the Temporary Crisis Framework, which enables member states to provide support through state aid.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said that “the war in Ukraine is a war against all of us. Our fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors are hit hard due to high energy, oxygen and raw material prices. This is the second time in the past few years after the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are again taking quick action to support them in this turmoil. These emergency crisis measures should not in any way impede our long-term efforts towards structural energy transition of the fishery and aquaculture sectors to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal.”
Enabling compensation to support the sectors
The military aggression of Russia against Ukraine has increased the prices of energy and raw materials, generating very high additional operating costs and squeezing profit margins in the fishery, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors. The mechanism activated allows member states to grant two types of crisis measures:
- Financial compensation to operators of the fishery, aquaculture and processing sectors for their income foregone and additional costs stemming from the current market disruption. Additional energy costs can be covered by the compensation if they are linked to the market disruption caused by the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine.
- Financial compensation is provided to producer organizations if they implement the storage mechanism of the common organization of the markets (“storage aid”). That mechanism allows producer organizations to store the products of their members as a way to secure a satisfactory level of price on the market.
The EMFAF crisis mechanism is a temporary measure. It applies retroactively as of February 24, 2022, the date of the start of the aggression of Russia against Ukraine, and will last until the end of 2022. Member states can decide if they would like to use them or not. If they do so, they will have to include them in the next version of their EMFAF program, submitted to the Commission.
€500 million with new equity fund for blue economy
Commissioner Virginius Sinkevičius and European Investment Fund (EIF) Deputy Chief Executive, Roger Havenith, have announced a new dedicated equity initiative for the blue economy under InvestEU. The initiative will mobilize an additional €500 million of EU funds for financial intermediaries investing in this sector. Commissioner Sinkevičius also announced that the European Commission’s successful BlueInvest initiative will continue beyond 2022 until 2026.
European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, responsible for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, praised the achievements of the BlueInvest initiative, which in the past three years has been highly successful in terms of getting hundreds of SMEs coached and matched with investors. The initiative has led to a large number of financing deals being signed, has strengthened the investment landscape for the blue economy, increased investor awareness and helped bridge the finance gap for blue technology SMEs and startups.
InvestEU Blue Economy, the scaled-up equity initiative that builds on the BlueInvest Fund pilot under European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), brings together the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF), the EIB Group and InvestEU finance for available translations of the preceding thereby mobilizing an additional €500 million of EU funds for financial intermediaries investing in this sector. This will result in €1.5 billion of risk-financing available to innovative and sustainable blue economy SMEs and start-ups, via financial intermediaries. The call for expression of interest will be soon published by the EIF.