Presenting the reform proposals for the common fisheries policy (CFP) in Madrid today [Friday], Franz Fischler, Commissioner for agriculture, rural development and fisheries, said that the Commission derived no pleasure whatsoever from voicing the harsh truth that the EU fishing fleet is too big.

"It is totally short-sighted to accuse the Commission of wishing to destroy jobs. Although in the short term the necessary reduction in fishing effort will lead to a reduction in employment, in the long term it is the only way to safeguard jobs in the fishing industry,"said the Commission.

"Some people here in Spain give the impression that it would be in the fishermen's interest NOT to reform the industry. Anyone who makes that claim has anything but the good of fishermen at heart. If instead of changing the CFP we bury our heads in the sand and ignore the problem, our fishing industry will suffer death by a thousand cuts."

Fischler called on all parties involved to get back to a discussion of real content and to base their criticisms on facts in the interests of a sensible dialogue.

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