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Brussels, 4 September 2009
Preparation Agriculture/Fisheries Council of September 2009
The Agriculture & Fisheries Council will meet in Brussels on Monday 7 September (starting at 11.00), under the Presidency of Mr Eskil Erlandsson, Swedish minister for Agriculture. Commissioners Mariann Fischer Boel and Androulla Vassiliou will represent the Commission at the meeting.
The points on the agenda are:
Situation of the dairy market in 2009
ON 22 July, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the dairy market situation in 2009. In its Communication, the Commission sets out the catalogue of measures available to help alleviate the very difficult market situation. The Commission will continue to use instruments such as intervention, private storage aid and export refunds. It will allow direct payments to farmers to be paid early and has just launched a new round of dairy promotion programmes. Other potential measures include using levies on producers who exceed their quota to finance voluntary retirement from milk production, and the extension to farmers of the Temporary Crisis Framework for state aid. Member States also have the possibility to redistribute aid to the dairy sector under last year's Health Check agreement, while there are a number of possibilities to help milk farmers within Rural Development policy.
The Commission is continuing its examination of potential anti-competitive practices in the food supply chain, especially the dairy sector. In line with the conclusions of the June European Council, the Commission will not reverse decisions already taken on the quota system.
The Commission will present its Communication to the Ministers, followed by an in-depth exchange of views on the dairy market situation and measures to be used to alleviate the difficult situation of the sector. A questionnaire from the Presidency will be the basis of the discussion.
The Communication and other documents on the dairy market are available on the internet at: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/markets/milk/report2009/index_en.htm
High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the Agro-Food Industry
In April 2008, the European Commission set up a High Level Group (HLG) on the Competitiveness of the Agro-Food Industry. The group, chaired by European Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen, includes Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva, Commissioner for Health Androulla Vassiliou and senior policy makers from the public and private sector. Their task is to identify and address issues that determine the competitiveness of the Agro-Food industry and to formulate a set of recommendations to achieve predictable and stable framework conditions for years to come.
Priority topics for the HLG are, amongst others: competitiveness issues, needs for innovation and research & development, sustained support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), simplifying food legislation while ensuring a high level of food safety, new means of sustainable production, multilateral and bilateral trade agreements and ways to overcome the food price crisis and its effects on the food chain.
In March 2009, the HLG adopted its final report, which contains a total of thirty recommendations and in July 2009, at its concluding meeting, the HLG endorsed a "Roadmap of key initiatives" (see ) that engages the European Commission, the participating Member States and the stakeholders to implement in the near future coordinated actions.
The Recommendations, the Report, the Roadmap of Key Initiatives and further information on the HLG are available on the internet at:
Mariann Fischer Boel will inform the Ministers on the work of the High Level Group.
Food safety and animal welfare