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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 25 January 2013

Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 28 January 2013

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of January 2013 will take place in Brussels on 28 January 2013, under the presidency of Mr Simon Coveney, Irish Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The Commission will be represented by Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development and Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy. Fisheries points will be dealt with on Monday morning, while the afternoon will be dedicated to Agriculture and Health issues. A press conference will be held for each session at the end of the discussions. The public debates and the press conferences can be followed by video streaming: http://video.consilium.europa.eu/ .

Fisheries

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

This first Council under Irish Presidency will discuss the Common Fisheries Policy Reform Package, presented by the Commission in July 2011. In particular, the discussions will focus on setting a calendar for the next steps. More specifically, the Council will discuss the Proposals for:

  1. a) the main Regulation for the Reform,

  2. b) the Regulation on the Common Organisation of the Markets in Fishery and Aquaculture Products

  3. c) the Regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

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

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

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

  3. bring new prosperity to the fishing sector, end dependence on subsidies and create new opportunities for jobs and growth in coastal areas. (IP/11/873).

The new fund, EMFF, will help deliver the ambitious objectives of the reform 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. It will replace the existing European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and a number of other instruments. The proposed envelope amounts to € 6.5 billion for the period 2014 to 2020 (IP/11/1495).

EU-Norway

The Commission will inform the Council on the fisheries negotiations between EU and Norway and the Council will exchange views on the Proposal for a Regulation on certain technical and control measures in the Skagerrak, proposed by the Commission in August 2012 (see http://europa.eu/rapid/midday-express-29-08-2012.htm )

Under the proposal, the EU and Norway are to harmonize technical and control measures for fisheries in the Skagerrak to ensure long-term sustainability of fish stocks. It notably features an obligation to land all catches of certain fish species – to stop the practice of discarding.

Multi-annual management plans

During lunch, there will be a ministerial debate on the Multi-Annual Management Plans. The Commission’s proposals on the Reform of the CFP gave Multi-Annual Plans a central role in the new CFP; however, the adoption of new plans has been blocked for three years over a disagreement between the institutions on the powers to adopt legal acts under Article 43 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Agriculture

The new Irish Presidency will present its Presidency work programme including its roadmap for reaching a political agreement on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. This will be followed by an exchange of views. In October 2011 the Commission presented its proposals for reforming the Common Agriculture Policy after 2013 (See IP/11/1181 and MEMO/11/685). The reform aims to make the CAP greener, fairer and more sustainable so as to guarantee European citizens healthy and quality food production, to preserve the environment and to help develop rural areas. Among the key axes proposed are for example a better targeted income support, the conditioning of 30% of direct payments to an improved use of natural resources, a more competitive and balanced food chain, agri-environmental initiatives and support measures specifically targeted at young farmers. The Council takes place in the wake of the European Parliament Agriculture Committee vote on the reform proposals on January 19 & 20.

Any other business

  1. the Commission will present its Report on the implementation of the European School Fruit Scheme

  2. the Commission will inform Member States on the draft Free Trade Agreement negotiated with Singapore

  3. the Commission will inform Member states on the status of free trade agreement negotiations with Canada and the status of World Trade Organization negotiations

Health and Consumer Policy

Items for discussion –Any other business

  1. Compliance with the Welfare Pig Directive in the Member States: Implementation of Group housing of sows

Commissioner Tonio Borg, will brief participants on compliance with the Directive on the welfare of pigs in Member States (implementation of group housing of sows) and inform the Council about the updates on the compliance. The intention is to remind Member States to take their responsibilities to ensure full compliance with the Directive on the protection of pigs in view of the implementation of group housing of sows.

  1. the Dutch delegation will present an information note on the European Food Safety Agency 's conclusions on the risk assessment for bees for three neonicotinoids


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