Brussels, 15 June 2012
Preparation of Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 18 June 2012
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council will meet in Luxembourg on Monday, 18 June 2012, under the presidency of Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Ms Mette Gjerskov. After Tuesday's meeting [June 12] on fisheries issues, this meeting will discuss agriculture, health and animal welfare issues, and the Commission will be represented by Agriculture & Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Cioloş and Health & Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli. Starting at 10.00, the two main issues on the agenda will be 2 full table rounds on i) Rural development and ii) the Presidency progress report on the state of the CAP reform negotiations. These two debates will be public, i.e. webstreamed "live" on the internet at http://video.consilium.europa.eu/, and they will also be followed by a final press conference at the end of the afternoon, also webstreamed live.
In the margins of the meeting (at lunchtime), Commissioner Cioloș will meet the Ministers from the olive oil producing Member States to discuss the medium to long-term market situation for olive oil.
The Presidency would like to inform the members of the Council on the draft Council conclusions on the impact of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the human health sector and in the veterinary sector – a “One Health” perspective.
Commissioner John Dalli will address the Council and welcome the initiative of the Danish Presidency.
Antimicrobial Resistance is a public health threat to be of particular importance and a priority for the Commission. The requests in the Council Conclusions are consistent with the concrete actions mentioned in the Commission's Action Plan on AMR.
The Commissioner in his intervention would also like to remind to Member States that in order to ensure success in combating AMR joined efforts from the EU, the Member States, healthcare professionals, industry, farmers and many others, are required.
Six months before the deadline of 1 January 2013, Commissioner Dalli intends to remind Member States again of their responsibility to ensure the proper implementation of group housing of sows as foreseen by the European law (Council Directive 2008/120/EC).
In fact, the Commission has informed Member States on the state of compliance with the Directive in several occasions, including during the last AGRI Council in April 2012.
However, due to the continuous evolution of the situation, the Commission will present an update of the current state of implementation of group housing of sows across the EU, based on the data received by Member States.
The intention is to highlight again to Member States the importance to urgently take all necessary measures to ensure compliance with Council Directive 2008/120/EC in order to avoid unfair competition between EU pig producers.
The Commissioner will recall Member States of the importance to continue to provide transparent and harmonized data on the implementation of group housing of sows so Commission services can assess the situation, in particular on aspects relevant to the functioning of the internal market.
Finally, the Commission will take the opportunity to inform the Ministers about future initiatives in this area, including the organization of a meeting with main stakeholders from the pig sector and Member States on 17 October 2012 to discuss further this issue.
Agriculture and Rural Development
Ministers will hold an orientation debate on the Rural Development aspects of the Commission's proposals for the post-2013 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The Commission's proposals look to build on the current, successful Rural Development concept of multi-annual schemes designed and co-funded by Member States (or regions), and introduce 6 priorities (knowledge transfer and innovation; competitiveness; food chain organisation & risk management; Restoring, preserving & enhancing ecosystems; resource efficiency & transition to low carbon economy; social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas;) rather than the current 3 Axes. Nevertheless, the proposals look to maintain an obligation for Member States/regions to spend at least 25% of their Rural Development envelope on issues related to land management and the fight against climate change. Furthermore, the proposed EU co-funding rates are raised from 75% to 85% in less developed regions, the outermost regions and the smaller Aegean islands, and 50% in other regions for most payments, but can be higher for innovation & knowledge transfer, cooperation, establishing producer groups, young farmer installation grants and LEADER projects.
Ministers will hold a full table round based on 2 Presidency questions – i) whether there should be a minimum percentage for environment-related actions (and what should be included), and ii) whether the Commission proposal to increase co-funding rates is relevant to reach the objectives of the rural development policy or if alternative operations should qualify to receive a higher rate of co-financing.
A second table round in the afternoon will be dedicated to discussion of the Presidency Progress report on CAP Reform. The Report sums up the progress achieved in the negotiations in the last 6 months, identifying the key issues which remain outstanding. The Danish Presidency invites the Cypriot Presidency, which will take over on 1 July 2012, to continue working on the issues identified as outstanding to prepare negotiations with the European Parliament.
Any other business
Commissioner Dacian Cioloş will present the Commission's Report on the application of Council Regulation (EC) 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products recently published by the Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/files/eu-policy/expert-recommendations/1_EN_ACT_part1.pdf ). The report analyses the experience gained in applying European organic legislation since 2009. It concludes that it is too early to table proposals to adjust the Regulation, but states that this will stimulate a constructive debate on the organic farming regulation – with the European Parliament, the Council, and other stakeholders – on the basis of which the Commission may come forward with proposals at a later stage.
The Council will be briefed on the results of two meetings of Vice-Ministers of agriculture held in Mexico in April and May in the framework of the G20.
Ministers will hear from Poland and Lithuania about difficulties being felt in the dairy sector.
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