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Brussels, 14 December 2011

Preparation Agriculture/Fisheries Council of December 2011

The Agriculture & Fisheries Council will meet in Brussels on 15 and 16 December. It will be chaired by Mr Marek Sawicki, Polish Minister for Agriculture & Rural Development. Commissioners Maria Damanaki, John Dalli and Dacian Cioloş will represent the Commission at the meeting.

The Fisheries issues will be dealt with on Thursday morning (starting at 10.00 am), and then again on Friday. Agriculture points will be on Thursday from roughly Midday until late afternoon, and the Health issues will be taken in the late afternoon on Thursday. Over lunch, the Presidency has asked for Ministers to have a discussion on the risk management toolkit and innovation elements in the Commission's CAP Reform proposals relating to Rural Development (Pillar II).

Following last week's signature of the Treaty of EU Accession with Croatia, the Croatian Minister will be able to participate in the meeting as an observer – with the right to speak, but not to vote.

A press conference on the Agriculture points will be held at then end of the first day of discussions, and a press conference on the Fisheries points at the end of the second day of the meeting.

NB: Until 3pm on Thursday, access to the building will be stricter than normal because of the EU-Russia Summit. Accreditation cards for the European Council on 9 December 2011 are valid for the EU-Russia summit, see

The points on the agenda are:


Fishing opportunities for 2012

Commissioner Maria Damanaki will present the Commission's proposals for fixing fishing opportunities for 2012 for the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Black Sea. Ministers will discuss these proposals with a view to reach political agreement so that the limits can enter into force on 1 January 2012.

Atlantic and North Sea

One Commission proposal concerns the main commercial stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea managed by the EU exclusively (IP/11/1081). The Commission proposes to increase the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for 9 stocks (certain stocks of cod, anglerfish, herring, haddock, hake, sole, megrim and Norway lobster) and reduce it for 53 stocks. For cod in the West of Scotland, the Irish Sea and the Kattegat, the Commission proposes that no fishing takes place in 2012, given the poor state of these stocks.

The proposed changes would amount to an overall reduction in TACs (by weight) of 11% compared to 2011. The Commission's goal is to set TACs at science-based levels which help recover the stocks and make fisheries sustainable in the long term.

Ministers will also discuss the proposal concerning fish stocks managed together with third countries such as Norway or through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), such as the North-Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) (MEX/11/1110). In negotiations with its international partners, the Commission has done its utmost to reach agreements that are sustainable and respect scientific advice.

Black Sea

Bulgaria and Romania are the only Member states concerned by the proposals for fishing opportunities for the Black Sea. The Commission proposes to cut the EU quota for turbot by 15%, to 74 tonnes and keep the EU quota for sprat unchanged, at 11,475 tonnes (MEX/11/1125).

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

Commissioner Damanaki will present the Commission's proposal for a new financial instrument, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) (IP/11/1495).

The Fund will help deliver the ambitious objectives of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and will help fishermen in the transition towards sustainable fishing, as well as coastal communities in the diversification of their economies. The fund will finance projects that create new jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts. A discussion with exchange of views will follow.


Green paper on promotion for agricultural products

The Commission will present a summary of responses of the consultation on the July 2011 Green paper for the promotion of EU agricultural products (IP/11/885), and the Presidency will seek to draw Council conclusions on the dossier.

For further information, see

CAP Reform Package

The Council will have a debate on the Proposal related to future Rural Development policy (IP/11/1181 & MEMO/11/685), based on a Presidency questionnaire. The debate will be public, webstreamed "live" at

"A" points

Among the points likely to be adopted without any discussion, Ministers are expected to adopt formally new rules for the Aid for the Needy scheme in 2012 and 2013 (MEMO/11/786 & IP/11/1148).

Similarly, the Council is likely to support the compromise on the milk package that was agreed in the trialogue with the European Parliament last week (MEMO/11/877 & IP/10/1691) and. Following this, it will be up to the European Parliament to vote on the agreement (probably in the February plenary) before it can be published in the Official Journal.

Health and food safety

Authorisations of use of four genetically modified varieties (GMOs)

Commission proposals for decisions on the use of four genetically modified varieties will be presented to the Council for adoption.

The 4 proposals concerned are:

  • Authorisation of the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize MIR604 x GA21

  • Authorisation of the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize Bt11 x MIR604

  • Authorisation of the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize Bt11 x MIR604 x GA21

  • Authorisation of the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified cotton 281-24-236/3006-210-23

  • The Council can adopt or reject the proposals by qualified majority. In the absence of a qualified majority in favour or against the proposal, it will go back to the Commission.

Any Other Business (AOB)

  • The Presidency will debrief on the progress and prospects of negotiations on Codex Alimentarius.

  • The Commission will present the Report on the impact of Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport.

  • The Hungarian delegation will inform the Council on the problem of ‘Article 2c’ in Council decisions authorising the placing on the market of products containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified organisms.

  • The Cypriot delegation will request a transitional period for the partially coupled aid for processed citrus fruit.

The public debate will be webstreamed "live" at and the press conferences will also be webstreamed and broadcast on EbS

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