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Brussels, 10 June 2003

Preparation Agriculture/Fisheries Council of June 2003

The Agriculture & Fisheries Council will meet in Luxembourg on Wednesday 11 (starting at 3 p.m.) and Thursday 12 June, under the Presidency of Mr Georgios DRYS, Minister for Agriculture of Greece. The meeting could be extended until Friday or even later.

The main point on the agenda is the possible adoption of the CAP reform package. A single "Fisheries" and "Food safety" issue is scheduled to be discussed on Thursday morning.


    CAP reform: a long term perspective for sustainable agriculture

The Commission proposals have been intensively discussed at the Special Committee for Agriculture, at a High-Level Working Group created at the end of April, and at the Agriculture Council. At the May meeting of the Council the Presidency and the Commission held bilateral discussions with the 15 Member States and the 10 acceding countries to provide greater clarity on the different positions of the Member States.

On the basis of all these meetings and contacts, the Greek Presidency will draw up a compromise on the CAP reform proposals. It will be the basis for the discussions at this Council meeting with a view to reaching agreement on the package.


On 22 January 2003, the Commission adopted a package of proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (COM(2003) 23 - IP/03/99, MEMO/03/127). The Commission proposal will provide EU farmers with a clear policy perspective to go with the financial framework until 2013 for agricultural expenditure, as decided by the Heads of State and Government in Brussels in October 2002. It will also make European agriculture more competitive and market oriented, promote a substantial simplification in the CAP, facilitate the enlargement process and help to better defend the CAP in the WTO. The proposed adjustments allow farmers maximum flexibility in production decisions while guaranteeing them income stability. The implementation of the Commission reform would remove environmentally negative incentives in the current policy and provide further encouragement for more sustainable farming practices.

These adjustments are necessary to ensure that the EU is able to provide a sustainable and predictable policy framework for the European Model of Agriculture over the coming years. Such changes are made even more urgent by the new budgetary framework. These changes will enable the EU to ensure a transparent and more equitable distribution of income support for farmers, and to better respond to what our consumers and taxpayers want.

The proposals are the follow-up to the Commission's midterm review proposals from July 2002.

The main elements of the CAP reform proposals are:

  • Decoupling production from direct payments;

  • Making direct payments conditional on cross-compliance with environmental, food safety, animal welfare and occupational safety standards;

  • Substantially increasing support for rural development;

  • Introducing a new farm audit system;

  • Bringing in new rural development measures to boost quality production, food safety and animal welfare and to cover some of the farm audit costs;

  • Different market measures: Substantial changes in the arable sector (cereals, protein crops, durum wheat, starch potatoes, dried fodder and seeds), amended regimes for rice and nuts and changes in the dairy sector.

Further information on the Commission's reform proposal are available on the internet at:


    Management of the fishing effort relating to certain Community fishing areas and resources ("Western Waters")

At the last meeting of the Council, there was a policy debate on the Commission proposal (COM(2002)739) to establish a revised effort limitation regime in the fishing areas of the so-called "Western Waters" (which extend from the Atlantic Ocean around the Canary Islands and the Azores to the North and north-west of Ireland and the UK).

The discussion, based on a document prepared by the Council Presidency in agreement with the Commission, focussed on possible solutions to outstanding issues; for example: Introducing a simplified system to limit fishing activity by major fishing area within the Western Waters.

Establishing specific capacity limits (or, alternatively, a fishing effort scheme) in a biologically sensitive area to the South and West of Ireland, in order to protect juvenile hake. Establishing a special protection zone for deep-sea stocks for local and traditional fisheries within an area of up to 50 miles around the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. The Council will continue discussions with a view to achieving an agreement.

Food Safety

    Control of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)

In December 2002, The European Commission adopted revised and improved legislation on EU measures to control outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (see IP/02/1913 - COM(2002) 736). FMD is a highly contagious viral disease. It is not dangerous for humans but outbreaks among livestock are associated with exceptionally high economic consequences, as seen most recently in the EU in 2001.

The amended Directive outlines procedures on how to recover "free of FMD without vaccination" status, which is of crucial importance for trade. Control actions are supplemented with measures to ensure a high level of preparation against the disease. The proposed Directive gives emergency vaccination a central role in tackling an outbreak. The Commission is given a key role in managing an outbreak in partnership with the Member States.

A political agreement on the proposal is expected at the Council meeting.

    "A" points

The Council will adopt a list of "A" points (points adopted without discussion), including:

  • Amendment of Council Regulation on the protection of animals during transport as regards the use of staging points (Commission proposal : COM(2002)414);

  • Controls of movements of ovine and caprine animals: Amendment of Council Directive on animal health conditions during intra-Community trade in ovine and caprine animals (Commission proposal : COM(2002)504);

  • Extension until 1 July 2005 of the transitional measures in the TSE Regulation (Commission proposal : COM(2003)103).

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