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Brussels, 18 December 2006

Single Common Market Organisation: Questions & Answers

1) What will be the added value of this proposal for

  • Farmers
  • Food industry
  • stakeholders
  • national administrations

The existing rules are spread over more than 40 legal acts most of which have been amended several times over the years so that the legibility of the texts is far from being perfect. The proposal aims at ensuring that the legislation is clear and easy to understand and to handle. It will thus be much easier accessible and transparent.

Farmers are not the primary addressees of the basic legislation. However, it will make life easier for all persons that have to work with our legislation; legal advisors, farmers unions and coops, food industry, national administrations. The single CMO will allow to save time and thus costs.

2) Does this proposal lead to a change in the policy?

The proposal is not intended at all to change policy. The project is meant to be purely technical in that it improves the legislation in that it consolidates existing rules without adding nor deleting existing instruments or measures.

3) What will be the financial impact of the sCMO?

As the sCMO does not change any policy, the project does not have a financial impact. However, it is possible that working with the legislation (for legal advisors, farmers unions, national administrations, etc) will be less costly as it will be less time consuming to find the provisions one is looking for.

4) Will it not be much more difficult to work with a big voluminous text?

No, on the contrary. The new structure of the text is much more user friendly. It provides a single set of harmonised rules which are put together according to their nature (market support measures, trade instruments, quota regimes) and the user can be sure to find all relevant rules in this single piece of legislation. 41 current legal acts (all regulations apart from one) containing more than 600 articles in total will be replaced by the sCMO which will consist of less than 200 articles.

5) What is the timing of this process?

The Commission has just adopted the proposal. It will now be sent to Parliament and to the Council. These two institutions will follow their own procedures. The text foresees application as of 1 January 2008 or – for those commodities that have a marketing year – at the start of the next marketing year after 1 January 2008. The German Presidency has scheduled the work in the Council in such way that a political agreement should be reached by June 2007.

6) What are the implications of this proposal on the Health Check?

The single CMO has no implications for the Health Check. The Health Check will be about policy changes and thus is not a technical exercise. The adoption of the sCMO regulation is a completely independent exercise from the reforms of particular sectors.

7) How will the Fruit & Vegetable and wine CMOs be eventually integrated?

In areas of policy reforms (fruit and vegetables, wine) the respective proposals will be dealt with independently. Once decided upon by the Council, they will be integrated into the single CMO by way of a legislative amendment. All horizontal issues (Committee procedure, communications, competition and state aid rules) of the single CMO which are not affected by the reform process will apply, however, to F&V and wine from the beginning.

8) What will be the Management Committee procedures?

There will only be one Management Committee (MC) rather than a specialised committee for each sector.

In practice MCs will continue to be convened according to the specificities and needs of market management. This will guarantee the degree of specialisation needed.

Where necessary, nothing prevents convening different and sector-specific formations of the Committees.

One single MC will give more flexibility for example as regards horizontal issues. The convening of just one committee rather than a joint meeting of various committees is, of course, straight forward and easy.

9) Is there any transfer of competences to the Commission for particular issues?

Yes, the Commission proposes the transfer of competences in cases where the Council has so far legislated on far reaching technical details such as standard quality definitions for certain products and certain purposes, marketing standards etc.

In the past there was a practice according to which the Council delegated itself the right to legislate on these kind of issues without consultation of the European Parliament. This kind of legislation is called "2nd generation legislation". This practice is legally not excluded but constitutes an institutional anomaly. According to the Treaty the principle is that executive powers are to be exercised by the Commission.

10) Will it be necessary to have national legislation amended as well?

The single CMO as well as the repealed acts are regulations. By definition, regulations are directly applicable in all the Member States. Therefore, there is no need for national implementing acts. However, Member States have to determine the national authorities competent for the application of regulations and sometimes have to make certain choices. Under the new legislative framework it might be necessary to make certain adjustments to the national legislation which would, however, be purely formal and not substantial.

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