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Brussels, 13 June 2003

Outcome of Agriculture/Fisheries Council of 11/12 June 2003

Part 1 : Agriculture

    CAP reform

    At the beginning of the meeting the Presidency distributed a compromise text of the CAP reform proposal. The main new elements in the compromise are:

    • Earlier start of modulation - already in 2004 or 2005;

    • more support for young farmers through the rural development regulation;

    • maintenance of rotational set-aside;

  • exclusion of certain payments from decoupling: sheep and goat supplementary premium in less favoured and mountain areas, drying aid for cereals, direct payments in outermost regions;

    • in the dairy sector: no decision now on additional quota increase in 2007 and 2008 and decoupling only once reform is fully implemented.

    The short plenary session was followed by trilateral meetings (Commission, Presidency and individual Member States) where Member States could give their reaction on the compromise proposal and identify their priorities. After the trilateral meetings the Presidency and Commission met the Agriculture ministers of the candidate countries.

    At the dinner Ministers confirmed their intention to reach a deal next week. They decided to adjourn the meeting until next week to give the member states the possibility to reflect on possible compromises. This will also allow the Presidency and Commission to analyse the different opinions and concerns voiced by Member States and to prepare a new compromise paper. The Council will meet again next Tuesday, 17 June, at 3 p.m. in Luxembourg.

Part 2 : Food Safety

    Control of foot-and-mouth disease

    The Council achieved political agreement on revised and improved legislation on EU measures to control outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). The amended Directive details the measures to rapidly control and eradicate the disease and outlines procedures on recovering the status "free of FMD and infection without vaccination", which is of crucial importance for trade. Control actions are supplemented with measures to ensure a high level of preparedness against the disease. The Commission is given a key role in managing an outbreak in partnership with the Member States.

    Welcoming the agreement and congratulating the Greek Presidency, David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: " Let me remind you that in contrast to the situation in 1990, the current proposal marks a reform, not a revolution.

    Shifting the emphasis between competing strategies has not changed the basic principles underpinning our approach to controlling FMD. The minimum measures confer more responsibility to Member States by providing more flexibility to choose the most appropriate control strategy. They also require a high level of disease preparedness in order to minimise the adverse effects of any possible future outbreak".

    The proposal will now be formally adopted after linguistic revision under the Italian Presidency and enters into force in July 2004.

    For more details, see IP/03/831

Part 3 : Fisheries

    Management of the fishing effort relating to certain Community fishing areas and resources and modifying Regulation (EEC) n┬░2847/93 ("Western Waters")

The Council had a discussion on the Commission proposal 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). This proposal aims to eliminate legal uncertainty on the applicability of certain provisions of the current regulations following the expiry of the transitional period foreseen in the Act of Accession concerning Spain and Portugal, on 1 January 2003.

Following the debate, where some Member States stressed the importance of resolving some outstanding issues, the Presidency concluded that discussions on the proposal should continue at the technical level (with a view to achieving an agreement as soon as possible.

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