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Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2007 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 706 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(99) 507 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 707 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1750 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002)1405 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1204 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]
In its July 1997 Opinion, the European Commission concluded that in the agricultural field, the process of transposing EU legislation into Lithuanian law was still far from completion. Some progress had been made, however, in adopting the measures listed in the 1995 White Paper on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Internal Market.
Particular effort was needed in the following areas:
- implementing and enforcing veterinary and phytosanitary rules and upgrading the infrastructure to meet EU standards - especially important in the context of inspection and control arrangements at the EU's external borders;
- strengthening the administrative framework to guarantee the necessary capacity for implementing and enforcing the policy instruments of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP);
- further restructuring the food sector to boost its competitiveness.
The Commission noted that Lithuania was so far applying only a limited number of CAP mechanisms and that a great deal of work was needed to prepare for accession in the medium term, including fundamental reform of its agricultural policy. The fisheries sector, on the other hand, could be integrated into the common fisheries policy (CFP) without major problems, although some work remained in advance of accession.
The November 1998 Report noted the significant steps taken to meet the short term priorities of the Accession Partnership. Progress had been made in aligning agricultural policy with the CAP, but more effort was needed on restructuring the agri-food sector and formulating environmental and rural-development policies. Lithuania had also made progress in implementing and applying EU veterinary and plant-health rules and upgrading infrastructure to EU standards. Progress in the fisheries sector had been minimal, however, and the application of the CFP still depended on the necessary legislative and administrative reforms being made.
The October 1999 Report noted the sustained efforts by Lithuania to comply with the Accession Partnership priorities. More action was still needed, however, in the fields of rural and environmental development and modernisation of the agri-food sector, and also to facilitate the implementation of important decisions. In the fisheries sector, despite the adoption of measures concerning fisheries statistics and fish quality, improvements needed to be seen in common fisheries control, market regulation and capacity management. Finally the report commented that collaboration between the different ministerial authorities responsible for fisheries could be improved.
The November 2000 Report confirmed that Lithuania was continuing to reform its agricultural and fisheries sectors to bring them into line with EU legislation.
The November 2001 Report concluded that, as regards agricultural legislation, alignment with the EU was continuing, though much work remained to be done.
In fisheries too, laws had been amended and administrative infrastructure adapted - for example, the fisheries directorate in the Ministry of Agriculture had been restructured. Some progress had been noted in the field of management, inspection and control of stocks, with the establishment of a vessel monitoring system. A register of fishing vessels had been created and the Ministry of Agriculture had adopted legislation governing producer organisations. The bilateral agreement with the Faroe Islands (Denmark) expired in April.
The November 2002 report indicated the progress made by Lithuania in aligning its legislation and strengthening administrative capacity in agriculture and fisheries.
The November 2003 Report showed that Lithuania was essentially meeting its commitments and was expected to be in a position to implement the acquis as from accession. Nevertheless, it would need to accelerate its efforts in some fields. Work remains to be done in fisheries.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aims to maintain and develop a modern farming system that guarantees a fair standard of living for the agricultural community and a supply of food at reasonable prices for consumers, as well as free movement of goods within the EU.
The Europe Agreement, which provides the legal basis for agricultural trade between Lithuania and the EU, aims to promote cooperation on modernising, restructuring and privatising Lithuania's farming and food sectors and its plant health standards. The 1995 White Paper on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Internal Market covers legislation on veterinary, plant-health and animal-nutrition controls, as well as marketing requirements for individual commodities. The purpose of this legislation is to protect consumers, public health and animal and plant health.
The Common Fisheries Policy covers market-organisation regimes, structural policy, agreements with non-member countries, the management and conservation of fish stocks and scientific research in support of these activities.
Trade with the EU in fishery products is covered in the Europe Agreement but not the White Paper.
Lithuania is generally respecting its commitments with respect to market-organisation regimes, although weaknesses have been identified with regard to beef. Lithuania is also lagging behind in respect to setting up its Paying Agency, the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) and trade mechanisms. In the veterinary field, efforts need to be accelerated in the monitoring of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and animal by-products, as well as in veterinary checks in intra-Community trade and public health if these are to be operational in time. The same is true for the common measures, animal welfare and phytosanitary measures.
Lithuania has essentially met its commitments in the areas of state aid and international agreements. This is not quite the case as regards structural actions and market policy. In addition, Lithuania must ensure that the number of staff in bodies administering the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) is increased, its administrative capacity expanded and the fishing vessel register put into practice. Furthermore, a review of the inspection and control fields needs to be undertaken rapidly.