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Who is who in the new European Parliament committees

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When we first floated the idea to publish a magazine on the committees of the European Parliament, enthusiasm was low. It couldn't be that interesting, could it? But the ones who thought this would be a dull exercise, were very wrong.

PECH EU

PECH EU fish wars ahoy Fisheries EU seas will contain "more" and "bigger" fish five years from now - if the fisheries committee does its job. But rows on post-Brexit rights could grab attention. By Andrew Rettman Chairman Chris Davies (Renew, UK): 'Atlantic waters look good, but the Mediterranean and Black seas are in a terrible state'. Photo: European Parliament EU seas will contain "more" and "bigger" fish five years from now if the European Parliament's fisheries committee (PECH) is to be proud of its legacy, according to its chairman, British liberal MEP Chris Davies. But a fight on post-Brexit fishing could divert attention from its core work, the committee's Dutch deputy chair, Peter van Dalen, warned. "It's all about achieving sustainability - ending overfishing and rebuilding our fish stocks so that we have more fish in the sea and can give a long term secure future for our fishing industry," Davies (Renew, UK) said. EU authorities ought to "tighten controls" on fishing quotas and "stop the discarding of millions of tonnes of fish each year," he added. The EU is meant to end overfishing by 2020, and 59 out of 81 assessed species were now returning to sustainable levels, according to "strict scientific advice", Davies noted. But "we're bound to miss the target, I fear," the MEP added. "Atlantic waters look good, but the Mediterranean and Black seas are in a terrible state," he said. The European Commission and EU member states negotiate total allowable catches of fish each year in a process that dominates EU intervention in the European seafood sector, which employs tens of thousands of people, most of them in France, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the UK. The tension between industry and environment could see clashes inside PECH on how to spend the €6bn European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, Davies warned. There were "too many people in politics" in some EU states who wanted to "throw public money at the fishing industry ... subsidising new and more powerful vessels", as in the "bad old days", he noted. But that "helps to kill the industry and the coastal communities that depend upon it," Davies said. The committee's Dutch deputy chair, van Dalen (EPP, Netherlands), agreed with the British MEP on the need for better "control" of the sector, saying that old EU rules were "too out of date". But Davies is to lose his PECH job when the UK leaves the EU, and van Dalen warned that Brexit could frustrate the committee's normal work. Talk of EU fishing controls triggers strong emotions in British eurosceptics and the tabloid media, which cover the subject as if it was World War Two. The so-called 'Scallop Wars' in 2018 even saw violence when British and French fishermen rammed each other's boats and fired flares, and "future reciprocity, after Brexit, of fishing in EU and British waters", is set to be PECH's most divisive issue, van Dalen said. The coordinators are: Francisco Millan Mon (EPP, Spain), Clara Aguilera (S&D, Spain); Pierre Karleskind (Renew, France); Grace O'Sullivan (Greens/EFA, Ireland); France Jamet (ID, France); Ruza Tomasic (ECR, Croatia); and Joao Ferreira (GUE/NGL, Portugal). 24 — EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES

CULT Culture and Education A bigger Erasmus budget to favour inclusion One of the top priorities of the European parliament's committee on culture and education (CULT), chaired by centre-right German MEP Sabine Verheyen, is to triple the Erasmus+ budget to make it more inclusive and accessible. By Elena Sánchez Nicolás One of the most notable aspects of the European Union is the cultural and linguistic diversity of its member states, and how successful programs such as Erasmus+ enhance European multiculturalism through education. One of the main priorities for the European Parliament's committee on culture and education (CULT), chaired by centre-right Sabine Verheyen (EPP, Germany), is to triple the budget of the Erasmus+ programme from 2021-2027, to make it more inclusive. The current budget (2014-2020) for the Erasmus+ programme is €14.7bn. However, a bigger budget is necessary to ensure that the Erasmus+ initiative is "more inclusive and accessible" for people with specific needs or disadvantaged groups, Verheyen told EUobserver. Erasmus is an initiative designed to allow young people to discover and live European values: learning about other countries, languages, and cultures while developing tolerance and mutual understanding. "This committee has played a vital role supporting Erasmus+ and ensuring that it is implemented well," she said. However, one of the main challenges for the CULT committee will be to find the balance between the different stakeholders during the ongoing inter-institutional negotiations - especially considering that the proposal of the commission only doubles the funding for Erasmus 2021-2027 up to €30bn. For the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), this committee will have to reach a political agreement with the EU Council not only on the Erasmus+ programme, but also Creative Europe (for culture and the creative sector) and European Solidarity Corps (for volunteering). "I know my colleagues following those files are committed to achieving an excellent result. It is imperative that we get it right," Verheyen said. The committee will also focus its efforts for the next five years on the implementation of the updated audiovisual media service directive (AVMSD), and the new forthcoming revision of the e-commerce directive. Once the new AVMSD is implemented, the parliament will have to ensure that the revision of the e-commerce directive does not jeopardise the achievements made concerning the regulation of video-sharing platform services like YouTube, she said. Likewise, digital skills, media literacy, and new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) will present fresh challenges for the CULT Committee. According to Verheyen, even though AI is still not completely understood or adequately addressed within European policy-making, "it will have an increasing impact on cultural and creative industries, as well as on education". The coordinators of the CULT committee are Michaela Šojdrova (EPP, Czech Republic), Petra Kammerevert (S&D, Germany), Laurence Farreng (Renew, France), Salima Yenbou (Greens/EFA, France), Christine Anderson (ID, Germany), Dace Melbrde (ECR, Latvia) and Niyazi Kizilyürek (GUE/NGL, Cyprus). Chairwoman Sabine Verheyen (EPP, Germany). The proposal of the EU commission doubles the funding for Erasmus 2021-2027, up to €30bn. Photo: European Parliament EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES — 25

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