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Brussels, 19 April 2013
Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 22 April 2013
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of April 2013 will take place in Luxemburg on 22 April 2013, under the presidency of Mr Simon Coveney, Irish Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş and Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki. Agriculture points will be dealt with on Monday morning, while Monday afternoon will be dedicated to Fisheries 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.
Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy
The Council will hold an orientation debate on the proposal for a basic Regulation on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Council will also be informed on the state of play of the Proposal for a Regulation on the Common Organisation of the Markets in Fishery and Aquaculture Products.
Negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the reform are underway and are dealing with core issues such as Maximum Sustainable Yield, scope and detail of the landing obligation, regionalisation and capacity management, as well as with other outstanding issues such as the rules determining the fixing and distribution of fishing opportunities, the composition of Advisory Councils, Member States' obligation to create fish stock recovery areas and empowerment for the Commission to adopt delegated acts.
Based on a discussion paper prepared by the Presidency, delegations will hold an orientation debate concerning the way to move forward on these issues.
The objective of the reformed fisheries policy is to end overfishing and make fishing sustainable - environmentally, economically and socially. The new policy aims to:
Protection of seabirds
Commission Damanaki will present to ministers the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on an "Action Plan for reducing incidental catches of seabirds in fishing gears".
Scientific evidence has shown that high numbers of seabird species including albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, auks, sea ducks and divers are being caught in fishing gear every year. Measures taken so far to protect seabirds from being entangled in fishing gear have been ineffective. The Action Plan sets up a management framework to minimise seabird bycatch to the lowest levels practically possible. It focuses on long line and static net fisheries where seabird bycatch are known to be highest, although other gears such as trawls and purse seines are also covered by the plan. It entails a wide range of elements under 30 recommended actions that are a combination of binding and non-binding measures. The rules will apply to EU fishing vessels inside and outside EU waters as well as non-EU vessels operating in EU waters. (IP/12/1222)
The Presidency will brief Member States on the state of play of negotiations on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy proposed by the Commission in October 2011. Following the adoption of their negotiating mandates by the Council and the European Parliament (respectively on 19 and 13 March), six trilogues have been held by the three institutions, out of the series of 30 planned for this final phase of negotiations on the CAP reform. The shared objective is that a political agreement is reached by the end of June 2013, with the formal adoption of the definitive legislative texts as a 1st reading agreement to follow in the autumn.
The four proposals on the table are:
Any other business
Following a request from Spain, the Commission will inform the Council on the state of play of negotiations for the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco and on the next steps of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Mauritania.
The Commission will present the proposals it put forward on 18 April to provide transitional arrangements in 2014 for certain Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) rules, notably the system of Direct Payments (see IP/13/339)