Karmenu Vella in charge of delivering healthy oceans

22 Oct 2014
Karmenu Vella

Karmenu Vella

The new European Commission, headed by President Jean-Claude Juncker, has been confirmed by the European Parliament vote.

The new team of Commissioners will begin their five-year term on 1 November 2014, subject to Council approval later this week.

Oceana says it welcomes Karmenu Vella, holder of the new combined portfolio of Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and encourages strong leadership when he leads EUs efforts to rebuild sustainable fisheries, protect the marine environment and guarantee that sustainability is central to the ‘Blue Growth’ Strategy.

During his mandate Mr Vella will face the most important challenge for European seas: restoring them to a healthy and productive status by 2020. Oceana hopes that combining environment and fisheries will bring a fresh momentum to European policy, to successfully live up to this commitment and provide a clear focus on sustainability. Oceana is confident that by adding sustainability to the portfolio of First Vice President, Mr Timmermans will guarantee the integration of environmental policies into all relevant portfolios of the new Commission.

“Healthy oceans are indispensable for Europeans because they provide us with food, jobs, and vital ecosystem services such as climate regulation. They are also part of our cultural identity and natural heritage; our legacy to the future”, said Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “We encourage Mr Vella to follow the path initiated by his predecessors Damanaki and Potočnik to maintain the health of our seas as a top priority. This is the only way to ensure the livelihoods of coastal communities and to preserve and sustainably use our natural resources now and in the future”.

During his confirmation hearing in the European Parliament, Mr Vella committed himself to continue the outgoing Commissioner Maria Damanaki’s fight against IUU, to implement the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), to let science and not politics decide annual fishing quotas, as well as to consider deep-sea mining only after thorough scientific analysis.

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