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Brussels, 11 May 2012

Preparation of Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 14 – 15 May 2012

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of May 2012 will take place in Brussels on 14-15 May 2012, under the presidency of Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Ms Mette Gjerskov. Maritime Affairs & Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki and Agriculture & Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Cioloş will represent the Commission at the meeting. The first day, Monday, will be devoted to Fisheries issues, and a press conference will be held at the end of the day's discussions. Tuesday morning will be dedicated to agriculture issues and this will also be followed by a press conference.


The Council will continue its discussions on the proposed reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (see IP/11/873). This time, ministers will have an orientation debate on MSY (Maximum Sustainable Yield). The Commission proposed that all fish stocks should be brought to sustainable levels (MSY) by 2015, which is in line with the commitments the EU has undertaken internationally. An ecosystem approach should be adopted for all fisheries, with long-term management plans based on the best available scientific advice.

The Council will also hold an orientation debate on the proposal for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The new fund 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).

The objective of the new, reformed fisheries 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.

Both debates will be structured around questions tabled by the Presidency and will be public, i.e. webstreamed "live" on the internet at

Any other business

Commissioner Damanaki will present to ministers the outcome of the aquaculture conference held in Salzburg on 11 May 2012.

Agriculture and Rural Development

Ministers will hold an orientation debate on the "Greening" aspects of the Commission's proposals for the post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). To strengthen the environmental sustainability of agriculture and enhance the efforts of farmers, the Commission proposed to spend 30% of direct payments specifically for the improved use of natural resources ("Greening"). That is to say that, in addition to basic payments aimed at ensuring farmers' income, each holding will receive a payment per hectare for respecting agricultural practices beneficial for the climate and the environment. The Commission proposed three compulsory practices (crop diversification, maintenance of permanent pasture, the preservation of environmental reservoirs and landscapes through so-called "ecological focus areas"), on the basis that these are practical, simple and with a genuine ecological effect. Ministers will hold a full table round based on 2 Presidency questions, relating to Member State priorities for possible flexibility.

The debate will be public, i.e. webstreamed "live" on the internet at

Animal welfare

Any other business

Stunning before slaughter

Sweden has raised an issue of animal welfare and specifically on stunning before slaughter. Therefore, a discussion will be held on the enforcement of the general requirement to stun animals before slaughter.

According to Article 5 of Council Directive 93/119/EC on the protection of animals at the time of slaughter or killing (to be replaced by Article 4 of 1099/2009/EC by 1 January 2013) animals should be stunned before slaughter. In the case of animals subject to particular methods of slaughter required by certain religious rites this requirement does not apply.

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