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Brussels, 12 July 2013
Preparation of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 15 July 2013
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of July 2013 will take place in Brussels on 15th July 2013. It will be the first Council under the presidency of Mr Vigilijus Jukna, Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture. The Commission will be represented by Agriculture & Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Cioloş, Health Commissioner Tonio Borg and Maritime Affairs & Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki. The Agriculture and Health issues will be taken in the morning and early afternoon, with the Fisheries issues – notably the point on the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund – starting before lunch, but then continuing in the second half of the afternoon. There will be a press conference at the end of the session on Monday early evening. The public debates and the press conference can be followed by video streaming: http://video.consilium.europa.eu.
Presidency work programme
The Council will start with the traditional presentation of the Council Presidency's Work Programme for Agriculture and Fisheries for the next 6 months.
Fishing Opportunities 2014
The European Commission will present a communication on fishing opportunities in 2014. The Commission will highlight the continued progress made in phasing out overfishing. This means that Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) is a realistic and achievable target even in the short to medium term. The Commission will argue that the move to MSY will unlock savings on fuel costs and lead to higher Total Allowable Catch (TAC) levels.
The Commission's presentation will also highlight the improvements in scientific advice. As a result of better scientific advice concerning the data-poor stocks in 2012, agreement was reached not to change a number of data-poor TACs in the forthcoming years after reductions in 2013, unless scientific advice indicates a strong need for changes.
The Commission's presentation will be followed by an exchange of views between the Ministers. The Commission will make its concrete proposals for TAC and quotas for 2014 during the autumn.
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
The Council aims to reach a general approach for the proposal for a Regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The discussions will focus on those articles which were not agreed at the partial general approach reached by Council in October 2012. The Presidency and the Commission will highlight the importance of timing and the need for agreement in order to be able to launch programmes and start with implementation from early 2014 – given that EMFF is the financial instrument underpinning the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
The aim of the EMFF is to support the economic development of the fisheries sector by promoting sustainable economic growth and jobs, in line with the objectives of the reformed CFP.
The proposal works off the basis that no operator and no Member State should be allowed to violate CFP rules with the use of the EU public funds or anything financed by EU public funds. For this reason, the EMFF proposes a system of financial consequences, a combination of financial corrections, interruptions and suspensions, which should ensure that EU taxpayer's money cannot finance operations that are non-compliant with CFP rules.
There will also be a discussion on the criteria for the allocation of EMFF funds. A simple workable criteria that is measurable and comparable across Member States is sought.
CAP Reform: Following last month's political agreement on the reform of the CAP, Ministers will hold a brief public debate on the state of play.
Any other business
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