S&D Group welcomes Vella's promising performance on environment and fisheries

Karmenu Vella

Maltese Commissioner-designate Karmenu Vella gave a convincing performance at a European Parliament hearing today in Brussels. 

The S&D Group is confident that Mr Vella, a long serving former minister, will boost the EU agenda on environment, fisheries and maritime policy and also help raise the political profile of the new Commission. 

S&D Vice-president Isabelle Thomas said: 

"I was glad to hear that Commissioner-designate Vella has a very balanced approach to sustainable development. Although it was initially unclear what the link between his environment and fisheries portfolio would be, he has clearly underlined that for him fisheries is not only a matter of conservation, but also of jobs and the economic viability of coastal regions. Our fears have been dissipated. Furthermore, his ambition to develop existing and new activities at sea in order to unleash the potential of blue growth sounds promising and balanced with regard to sustainability." 

Matthias Groote, S&D spokesperson on environmental policy, said: 

"Commissioner-designate Vella was convincing in today's hearing by committing to an agenda which addresses the key priority issues of sustainability, resource efficiency and the green economy. He gave also encouraging answers on the Bird and Habitat directive.  I am glad that environmental policy will not take a back seat, although we call on Mr Juncker to appoint a Vice-President responsible for environment. We are looking forward to put these commitments to work, to ensure that our goals lead not only to the protection of the environment, but to new jobs linked to the idea of a green economy." 

Ulrike Rodust, S&D spokesperson on fisheries policy, said:             

"After today's hearing, I am confident that Commissioner-designate Vella will implement the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in spirit and letter. Future legislation should not be used to weaken the discard ban or to divert from the MSY-principle (maximum sustainability yield). Moreover, close consultation with all stakeholders, and most importantly fishermen, is vital in order to base the implementing legislation on a broad consensus that is supported by all those who will be affected by it."