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MEMO/12/189

Brussels, 16 March 2012

Preparation of Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 19-20 March 2012

The Agriculture & Fisheries Council will meet in Brussels on 19 and 20 March. It will be chaired by Mrs Mette Gjerskov, Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. Commissioners Maria Damanaki and Dacian Cioloş will represent the Commission at the meeting. Fisheries issues will be dealt with on Monday and Agriculture issues on Tuesday. Over lunch on Tuesday, ministers will discuss CAP Reform issues related to the 1st and 2nd Pillars. A press conference on the Fisheries points will be held at the end of the day on Monday, and a press conference on the Agriculture points is scheduled for just before the lunch on Tuesday.

Fisheries

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

The Council will debate the Commission's proposals for a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and its financing.

Council conclusions are expected to be adopted on the External Dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy. In line with the Commission's proposals, the conclusions will highlight that within international bodies and in its relations with third countries, the EU must act abroad as it does at home and promote good governance and a sound management of the sea in the rest of the world.

The Council will also hold a series of orientation debates on the package of proposals, with a focus on the following issues:

  • The proposal on the main rules on the Common Fisheries Policy, with a focus on discards provisions.

  • The proposal on the Common Organisation of the Markets in Fishery and Aquaculture Products.

  • The proposal on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

    The objective of the new policy is to end overfishing and make fishing sustainable - environmentally, economically and socially. The new policy aims to:

  • bring fish stocks back to sustainable levels by setting fishing opportunities based on scientific advice,

  • provide EU citizens with a stable, secure and healthy food supply for the long term,

  • bring new prosperity to the fishing sector, end dependence on subsidies and create new opportunities for jobs and growth in coastal areas.

The reform package consists of a) a legislative proposal for a new Regulation setting out the main rules of the CFP, b) a legislative proposal for a new Market Policy, c) a Communication on the external dimension of the CFP and d) an overarching communication explaining the links between the above (IP/11/873).

The proposal for a new financial instrument, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will help deliver the ambitious objectives of the reform. It will assist 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 (IP/11/1495).

Any other business

A discussion will be held on mackerel fishing in the North-East Atlantic following the non-conclusion of an agreement with Coastal States.

Agriculture

Reform of the Common Agriculture Policy - Simplification

Following statements from Member State calling for simplification – and a written explanation from the commission about the different elements of simplification in the reform proposals – the Presidency has asked to discuss this question. This will be on the basis of 2 Presidency questions:

  • (1) Is the proposed approach on simplification in line with the key principles from March 2011 and should Council assess the progress made on simplification before the final adoption of the reform?

  • (2) How can simplification be ensured in the implementation of the reform proposals in order to further reduce administrative costs and burdens?

European Innovation Partnership for agriculture (EIP)

Commissioner Cioloș will present the new European Innovation Partnerships launched on 29 February (see IP/12/196 and Memo/12/147). This EIP aims to provide a working interface between agriculture, bio-economy, science, and others at EU, national and regional level. It will also serve as a catalyst to enhance the effectiveness of innovation-related actions supported by Rural Development Policy as well as the Union Research and Innovation.

Any Other Business

  • Portugal has asked to discuss the impact of drought on Portuguese agriculture.

  • Latvia will draw attention to Russia’s ban on live pigs imports from the EU following the problems seen with the Schmallenberg Virus.


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