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EU Agriculture, Fisheries Committee Meets This Week

16 June 2014

EU - The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting will take place in Luxembourg on 16 and 17 June 2014. Among the leading topics on the agenda are the single school food scheme, the dairy market and Milk Package and the national implementation of CAP reforms.

The Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Ciolos and Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg. The Agriculture points will be discussed on Monday 16 June and the Fisheries and Health points on Tuesday 17h June.

Fisheries

Omnibus Regulation

Under the new EU Common Fisheries Policy the discarding of unwanted fish will be gradually banned, and an obligation to land all catches is a key element of the new policy. The 'Omnibus Regulation' is therefore needed to align the technical and control rules to the “landing obligation”, a prohibition to throw unwanted catch back in the water which is due to apply as from 1 January 2015.

The Greek Presidency will present a state of play on this file informing ministers of broad support for its compromise from Member States' representatives. The Commission will underline the importance of these new rules and their timely application in view of the coming into force of the landing obligation in January 2015 for small pelagic fisheries, large pelagic fisheries, industrial fisheries, fisheries for salmon, and fisheries in the Baltic Sea. Ministers will seek to agree on a general approach ahead of negotiations with the European Parliament

Discard plans

Ministers will exchange views on the progress in the development of discard plans at a regional level. Member States are currently discussing their discard plans and which will be agreed at sea basin level and sent to the Commission, in the form of joint recommendations, to be taken into account and transformed into EU law via a delegated act.

Ministers will discuss progress to date, notably the regionalisation process, the role of the Commission's Scientific, Technical, Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF), joint recommendations, and the next steps and timings for the submission of the plans.

Establishment of a 2014 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Capelin

Denmark will present an AOB point on the management of capelin ahead of the start of the fishing season at the end of June. The Commission is waiting for a proposal from Greenland which will need to be discussed and agreed with Member States. The TAC can then be defined and introduced through a third amendment to the 2014 TAC Regulation. The Commission is committed to acting swiftly once it has received Greenland's proposal.

Agriculture

The Presidency will present a progress report to the Council on the proposal for a single school food scheme put forward by the Commission on 30 January 2014, highlighting the current state of negotiations. The proposal aims at combining and reinforcing two currently separate school schemes the School Fruit Scheme and the School Milk Scheme - under a joint framework. In a context of declining consumption among children for fruits and milk, the aim is to address poor nutrition more effectively, to reinforce the educational elements of the programmes and to contribute to fight against obesity. The Commission proposal puts greater focus on educational measures to improve children's awareness of healthy eating habits, the range of farm produce available, as well as sustainability, environmental and food waste issues.

The Commission will present its report on the development of the dairy market and the operation of the 2012 Milk Package. Aimed at strengthening the position of farmers in the dairy supply chain and preparing the sector for a more market oriented and sustainable future, the Milk Package seeks to learn lessons from the 2009.

The report, published on 13 June, describes the rather positive outlook for the dairy market, takes stock of the implementation of the provisions and possibilities of the “Milk Package” and outlines further considerations in view of the end of the quota system in 2015 agreed back in 2008. As a further measure for the post-quota market, the Commission recently launched the European Milk Market Observatory, which will improve market transparency and provide analysis for economic operators when taking business decisions. Despite a positive outlook for world dairy markets, the report reflects on doubts that have been voiced on the capacity of the EU regulatory framework to deal with extreme market volatility or with a crisis situation after the end of the quota regime. It confirms the Commission’s commitment to continue working on the best ways to tackle the challenge of price volatility in the future.

Ministers will exchange views on their intentions for implementation of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) at national level. The CAP reform agreed by the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission in 2013 has set a common framework for future policy, but leaves flexibility on certain elements to national (or possibly regional) level to reflect specific national conditions . Member States have until 1 August 2014 to notify their choices on how they wish to use the range of tools at their disposal for direct payments, with Rural Development programmes also needing to be submitted in the coming months. While all choices may not have been completed yet, this exchange of views will provide a first overview of how the CAP will be implemented in the EU in the coming years.

Any Other Business

Health

Animal, Plant and Control Package

The Presidency will present to the Ministers the progress on the animal health, plant health and official controls proposals, which are currently being discussed.

Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, at his intervention is expected to recall the three objectives of the package on 'smarter rules for safer food'.

The aim of the proposal is to introduce a single piece of legislation to regulate animal health in the EU based on the principle that "prevention is better than cure", to improve standards and to provide a common system to better detect and control disease. Flexibility in animal health legislation is crucially important to be able to take swift action against disease and react to new challenges. Regarding plant health, the Commission proposal introduces a proactive approach to ensure an effective phytosanitary protection of its territory.

Plant reproductive material

Following Parliament's reaction in the March plenary on the proposal on Plant Reproductive Material (PRM), the Council has prepared its input for a modified Commission proposal; such proposal is currently under preparation. The Greek Presidency is to present a report on the original proposal, indicating the state of play of discussions and suggestions on the structure and content of possible modifications to this proposal. Commission will examine the suggestions by the Council carefully, since it remains committed and looks forward to cooperating with incoming Presidencies on this file.

Antimicrobials in relation to animals

Information to the Ministers from the Swedish Delegation.

Agriculture

  • The Commission will present an information paper on the labelling of origin or place of provenance for certain meats
  • The Slovakian delegation will brief Ministers on damage to forests caused by wind storms in the Slovak Republic
  • The Presidency will brief participants on the High-level Conference 'Scientific Support to Agriculture: Competitiveness, Quality and Sustainability' held on 23 April 2014 in Athens
  • At the request of the Hungarian delegation, participants will discuss the impact of the Directive on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants ('NEC Directive')

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