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Preparation Agriculture/Fisheries Council of September 2010

European Commission - MEMO/10/443   24/09/2010

Other available languages: none

MEMO/10/443

Brussels, 24 September 2010

Preparation Agriculture/Fisheries Council of September 2010

The Agriculture & Fisheries Council will meet in Brussels on Monday 27 September (starting at 10 a.m.). It will be chaired by of Mrs Sabine Laruelle, Belgian minister for SMEs, the Self-Employment, Agriculture and Science Policy, for the Agriculture and Health issues and Mr Kris Peeters, Minister-President for the Flemish Region and responsible for Fisheries, for the points on Fisheries. Commissioners Maria Damanaki, John Dalli and Dacian Cioloş will represent the Commission at the meeting.

Fisheries and Health points will be dealt with in the morning. Over lunch, Ministers will have a discussion on "Financing of animal health policy". In the afternoon, the Agriculture points are on the agenda.

The points on the agenda are:

Health

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

On 13 July, the Commission proposed a revised legal framework regulating genetically modified (GM) food and feed in the EU. This framework pursues the global objective of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and welfare, environment and consumer interests, whilst ensuring that the internal market works effectively.

The proposal confers to Member States the freedom to allow, restrict or ban the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on part or all of their territory.

While keeping unchanged the EU's science-based GM authorisation system, the adopted package consists of a Communication, a new Recommendation on co-existence of GM crops with conventional and/or organic crops and a draft Regulation proposing a change to the GMO legislation. The proposed regulation amends Directive 2001/18/EC to allow Member States to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs in their territory.

The Council will have an exchange of views on the Commission documents.

For the documents and more information please see:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/index_en.htm

AOB

Latvian request to get authorisation to amend BSE monitoring programmes

Fisheries

AOB

Management of mackerel in the North-East Atlantic

The European Commission has asked the Belgian presidency to put the issue on the agenda of the Council in order to discuss further options as regards the ongoing discussions with Norway, the Faroe Islands and Iceland on this issue.

Agriculture

Report on the High Level Group on Milk

The Commission will present the report and recommendations of the High Level Group on Milk. Ministers will have an exchange of views on the report.

Following the difficult market situation for milk last year, the Commission established a High Level Expert Group on Milk (HLG) last October with the purpose of discussing mid-term and long-term arrangements for the dairy sector given the expiry of dairy quotas on 1 April 2015 (see IP/09/1420). While respecting the outcome of the Health Check, the HLG was asked to consider regulatory issues which might contribute to stabilizing the market and producers' income and enhance transparency on the market. 10 meetings were held from October 2009 until June 2010. A draft report summarising the outcome of the discussions and with certain recommendations was adopted unanimously on 15 June (see IP/10/742).

The recommendations to the Commission from the High Level Group relate to:

  • Contractual relations between milk producers and milk processors,

  • Collective bargaining power of producers,

  • The possible role of interbranch organisations in the dairy sector,

  • Transparency in the dairy supply chain,

  • Market measures and futures,

  • Marketing standards and origin labelling,

  • Innovation and research

The full 50-page report (with annexes) is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/markets/milk/index_en.htm

The Belgian Presidency will propose Council conclusions on the report of the High Level Group.

Quarterly report on the dairy market

The Commission will present an updated quarterly report on the situation of the dairy market.

Food aid for most deprived persons

On 17 September, the Commission adopted an amended proposal to improve the current food distribution programme for the most deprived persons in the European Union. It builds on a 2008 proposal allowing the scheme to use market purchases on a permanent basis, to complement available intervention stocks. Member States would choose what food to distribute and food distribution plans would be established for three-year periods. Food would continue to be distributed in cooperation with charities and local social services. Every year, more than 13 million European citizens benefit from this programme. The amended proposal provides stable and more favourable rates of national co-financing and puts an annual ceiling of € 500 million on the EU's contribution. It makes a number of other adjustments to the original 2008 proposal and aligns it with the Lisbon Treaty. The 2008 proposal was not adopted by the Council, despite the supportive stance of the European Parliament.

Commissioner Dacian Cioloş will present the amended proposal to the Ministers.

Outermost regions of the European Union

The Commission will present a report on the effects of the 2006 reform of the Programme of Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity (POSEI) regime as well as a proposal to modify the Regulation laying down specific measures in the outermost regions of the Union. Ministers will have a first exchange of views on this subject

Specific measures for agriculture in the outermost regions (OR) were introduced in 1991 for the French DOM (POSEIDOM) and in 1992 for the Canaries (POSEICAN) the Azores and Madeira (POSEIMA).

For this purpose the main instruments of the POSEI scheme were established:

  • The Specific Supply Arrangements (SSA), aiming to mitigate the costs for the supply of products used as inputs for the everyday consumption or manufacture of certain essential foodstuff, by providing for the exemption of duties on products imported directly from third countries or aid for products originating in the rest of the Community within the limits of the local needs;

  • Measures to Support Local Production (SLP), aiming to maintain or develop certain products by supporting the production, processing and/or marketing of these products or the structuring of the sectors involved;

  • Accompanying measures:

The POSEI scheme was reformed in 2001 and 2006. Now the Commission adopted a report on the effects of the 2006 reform and proposes a modified Regulation.

AOB

  • Situation of the EU processed tomato sector (Italian demand)

  • Prolongation of temporary State aid (€ 15 000) in favour of agricultural producers (Hungarian demand).

  • Situation on the cereals market and its impact on animal production (Polish request)

  • Situation on the cereals market – Measures requested for the stabilisation of the markets (Greek request)


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