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Preparation Agriculture/Fisheries Council of April 2011

Commission Européenne - MEMO/11/242   13/04/2011

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MEMO/11/242

Brussels, 13 April 2011

Preparation Agriculture/Fisheries Council of April 2011

The Agriculture & Fisheries Council will meet in Luxembourg on Thursday 14 April (starting at 11 a.m.). It will be chaired by Mr Sándor Fazekas, Hungarian Minister for Rural Development. Commissioners Maria Damanaki and Dacian Cioloş will represent the Commission at the meeting.

Fisheries points will be dealt with in the morning and Health and Food Safety and Agriculture items in the afternoon. Over lunch, Ministers will have a discussion on "the role of innovation in revitalising the traditional way of life in rural areas".

The points on the agenda are:

Fisheries

Review of fishing effort management in Western Waters under the reform

The Council will hold a debate on the Commission's Communication on the review of the Western Waters regime, adopted in November 2010 (COM (2010) 661). The Western Waters regime is a very large-scale effort management system covering bottom fisheries (except deep-sea fisheries) in the North-East Atlantic, excluding the North Sea.

Any Other Business (AOB)

A Joint Declaration of Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg and Slovakia on the future role of the freshwater aquaculture and inland fishery within the CFP reform will be presented.

Agriculture

Quality policy for agricultural products

The Council will have an exchange of views on the Commission proposals on agricultural product quality schemes. The discussion will be structured around two questions proposed by the Hungarian Presidency:

  • The intention to stimulate the development of direct sales and production for local markets is indicated in the Presidency conclusions on the Commission communication on the future of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). Do you agree that the ‘local farming and direct sales’ scheme should be supported by the quality package?

  • Would it be helpful for agricultural producers in mountain areas if the quality package include rules for products of mountain farming?

On 10 December 2010, the Commission adopted the so-called "Quality Package". This package sets up for the first time a comprehensive policy on certification schemes, value-adding terms for agricultural product qualities, and product standards. Until now these have been spread among numerous pieces of legislation. With this Package, the Commission covers all facets of quality, from compliance with minimum standards to highly specific products.

The Quality Package comprises:

  • A proposal for a new 'Agricultural Product Quality Schemes Regulation', bringing coherence and clarity to the EU schemes: reinforcing the flagship scheme for protected designations of origin and geographical indications (PDOs and PGIs); overhauling the traditional specialities guaranteed scheme (TSGs), and laying down a new framework for the development of Optional Quality Terms to provide consumers with information they increasingly demand, such as 'free range'' and 'first cold pressing'.

  • A proposal to streamline adoption of marketing standards by the Commission, including the power to extend place of farming labelling in accordance with the specificity of each agricultural sector.

  • New Guidelines on best practices for voluntary certification schemes and on the labelling of products using geographical indications as ingredients.

All documents related to the Quality Package are available on the internet at:

http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/policy/quality-package-2010/index_en.htm

Any Other Business (AOB)

  • Price volatility on agricultural raw material: Information from the Belgian delegation.

  • EU-MERCOSUR Free Trade Agreement Negotiations: Request from Irish delegation.

  • The impact of CAP policy changes on developing countries: Dutch request.

Health and food safety

Carbendazim

The proposal of the Commission to approve the pesticide carbendazim for a limited period of time did not get a qualified majority in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (SCFCAH) on 23 November 2010.

The proposal was subsequently submitted to the Council. On April 14, the Presidency will check in Council whether the voting intentions of the Member States have changed or not.

In case of no qualified majority for/against is reached, according to the Comitology procedure, it will be then to the Commission to adopt the draft.

Carbendazim is a fungicide used on cereals, oil seed rape, maize, and sugar and fodder beet. It has been included in Annex I to Council Directive 91/414/EEC concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market through Commission Directive 2006/135/EC.


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