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Brussels, 11 April 2014
Preparation of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 14th April 2014
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of April 2014 will take place in Luxembourg on 14th April 2014. The Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş. The morning and afternoon sessions will be entirely dedicated to agricultural issues. A press conference will be held in the afternoon at the end of the discussions. The public debates and the press conference can be followed by video streaming: http://video.consilium.europa.eu.
Fruit & Vegetables report
Ministers will discuss the recently published Commission Report on the fruit & vegetables regime, which was presented at the March Council (see MEMO/14/205). Required under the 2007 Fruit & Vegetables reform, this report looks at various issues addressed in that reform, but does not make any concrete proposals at this stage. It stresses the persistently low degree or lack of organization of fruit and vegetables producers in some southern Member States and Member States that joined the EU in 2004 and later. Fruit and vegetables producers not belonging to producer organizations do not benefit from specific EU aid for the sector. These producers, often the smallest, have a very weak bargaining power within the supply chain and are more exposed to risks deriving from globalization and climate change. The report therefore stresses the need to explore measures to stimulate forms of cooperation to help producer organizations and non-organized producers overcome these challenges. The report also calls for a review of the fruit and vegetables regime to ensure that support for producer organizations is better focused. It concludes that the Commission could build upon the results of this report and the upcoming debate to present legislative proposals at a later stage for a revision of the EU aid scheme for the fruit and vegetables sector.
Discussions will be structured around four questions asked by the Presidency. Participants will thus reflect on ways to better encourage the organisation of the fruits and vegetables sector and reduce existing imbalances between Member States and/or regions; on potential improvements to the challenges identified by the Report, in particular with regard to producers' competitiveness; on the best allocation of financial resources in the respect of budget neutrality; and on whether crisis prevention and management instruments are needed.
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