On 20 November the Commission for Natural Resources (NAT) set out the local and regional point of view on consumer policy, blue economy in the western Mediterranean, the future of CAP after 2020 and food waste. The following is a summary of the different topics that were discussed during the meeting in Brussels.
A debate on sustainable blue economy and ocean governance with Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, took place on 21 November in the premise of the European Committee of the Regions.
Blue economy in the western Mediterranean. Samuel Azzopardi (MT/EPP), Councillor of Rabat Citta Victoria, Gozo, drafted the opinion on the Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean , which was adopted unanimously. The document supports European Commission's measures to ensure a safe, secure and clean maritime space, better governance of the sea and sustainably managed oceans. It focuses on how to encourage partners in the western Mediterranean to address unregulated and illegal human activities, counter marine pollution within the sea basin and prevent the smuggling of migrants and illegal fishing. It encompasses ten countries of the Western Mediterranean region: France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Malta as well as Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. In terms of developing a smart and resilient blue economy, the rapporteur emphasises the existing gaps in education and skills which need to be addressed without further delay and in close cooperation with local and regional authorities.
As a follow-up of the opinion on CAP post 2020, Guillaume Cros (FR/PES) presented CoR's contribution to the document on "The Future of Food and Farming" which will be adopted on 29 November by the European Commission.
Information on the hurricane disaster in Poland and its consequences which took place last August, was presented by Piotr Całbecki (EPP/PL), Member of the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Regional Assembly. Piotr Całbecki claimed for a clearer EU methodology for counting losses after cataclysms.
Debate on Consumer Policy. Consumer policy as one of the most transversal EU policies was debated with officials of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Consumer Organisation. The European Commission announced changes to address certain identified shortcomings of the Consumer Directives, such as those regarding developments in the digital economy and better protect consumers in digital word, through addressing the transparency of online platforms. A particular attention was drown to the issue of Collective redress due to the dieselgate scandal, or with a more recent example of the low-cost airline company refusing to inform passengers about their right to be compensated. While some EU Member States have introduced collective redress procedures, EU consumers are however unable to band together to claim their rights.
The next NAT meeting will take place on 22 January 2018.