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Brussels, 13 June 2014
Preparation of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 16-17th June 2014
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of March 2014 will take place in Luxembourg on 16th and 17th June 2014. The Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş and Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg. The Agriculture points will be discussed on Monday 16th and the Fisheries and Health points, on Tuesday 17th June. A press conference will be held at the end of the discussions on each day. The public debates and the press conferences can be followed by video streaming: http://video.consilium.europa.eu
Under the new EU Common Fisheries Policy the discarding of unwanted fish will be gradually banned, and an obligation to land all catches is a key element of the new policy. The 'Omnibus Regulation' is therefore needed to align the technical and control rules to the “landing obligation”, a prohibition to throw unwanted catch back in the water which is due to apply as from 1 January 2015. The Greek Presidency will present a state of play on this file informing ministers of broad support for its compromise from Member States' representatives. The Commission will underline the importance of these new rules and their timely application in view of the coming into force of the landing obligation in January 2015 for small pelagic fisheries, large pelagic fisheries, industrial fisheries, fisheries for salmon, and fisheries in the Baltic Sea. Ministers will seek to agree on a general approach ahead of negotiations with the European Parliament
Ministers will exchange views on the progress in the development of discard plans at a regional level. Member States are currently discussing their discard plans and which will be agreed at sea basin level and sent to the Commission, in the form of joint recommendations, to be taken into account and transformed into EU law via a delegated act. Ministers will discuss progress to date, notably the regionalisation process, the role of the Commission's Scientific, Technical, Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF), joint recommendations, and the next steps and timings for the submission of the plans.
Establishment of a 2014 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Capelin
Denmark will present an AOB point on the management of capelin ahead of the start of the fishing season at the end of June. The Commission is waiting for a proposal from Greenland which will need to be discussed and agreed with Member States. The TAC can then be defined and introduced through a third amendment to the 2014 TAC Regulation. The Commission is committed to acting swiftly once it has received Greenland's proposal.
The Presidency will present a progress report to the Council on the proposal for a single school food scheme put forward by the Commission on 30 January 2014 (see IP/14/94 and MEMO/14/69), highlighting the current state of negotiations. The proposal aims at combining and reinforcing two currently separate school schemes the School Fruit Scheme and the School Milk Scheme - under a joint framework. In a context of declining consumption among children for fruits and milk, the aim is to address poor nutrition more effectively, to reinforce the educational elements of the programmes and to contribute to fight against obesity. The Commission proposal puts greater focus on educational measures to improve children's awareness of healthy eating habits, the range of farm produce available, as well as sustainability, environmental and food waste issues.
Ministers will continue their discussions on the recently published Report on the fruit & vegetables regime, which was presented at the March Council (see MEMO/14/205). Discussions will focus on a questionnaire put forward by the Presidency on a possible future revision of the fruit and vegetables aid scheme. Required under the 2007 Fruit & Vegetables reform, the Commission report looks at various issues addressed in that reform. 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. The report 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 targeted. 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.
The Commission will present its report on the development of the dairy market and the operation of the 2012 Milk Package. Aimed at strengthening the position of farmers in the dairy supply chain and preparing the sector for a more market oriented and sustainable future, the Milk Package seeks to learn lessons from the 2009. The report, published today, describes the rather positive outlook for the dairy market, takes stock of the implementation of the provisions and possibilities of the “Milk Package” and outlines further considerations in view of the end of the quota system in 2015 agreed back in 2008. As a further measure for the post-quota market, the Commission recently launched the European Milk Market Observatory, which will improve market transparency and provide analysis for economic operators when taking business decisions. Despite a positive outlook for world dairy markets, the report reflects on doubts that have been voiced on the capacity of the EU regulatory framework to deal with extreme market volatility or with a crisis situation after the end of the quota regime. It confirms the Commission’s commitment to continue working on the best ways to tackle the challenge of price volatility in the future.
Ministers will exchange views on their intentions for implementation of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) at national level. The CAP reform agreed by the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission in 2013 has set a common framework for future policy, but leaves flexibility on certain elements to national (or possibly regional) level to reflect specific national conditions (see IP/13/613, IP/13/864 and MEMO/13/937). Member States have until 1 August 2014 to notify their choices on how they wish to use the range of tools at their disposal for direct payments, with Rural Development programmes also needing to be submitted in the coming months. While all choices may not have been completed yet, this exchange of views will provide a first overview of how the CAP will be implemented in the EU in the coming years.
Any other business
Animal, Plant and Control Package
The Presidency will present to the Ministers the progress on the animal health, plant health and official controls proposals, which are currently being discussed.
Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, at his intervention is expected to recall the three objectives of the package on “smarter rules for safer food”.
The aim of the proposal is to introduce a single piece of legislation to regulate animal health in the EU based on the principle that "prevention is better than cure", to improve standards and to provide a common system to better detect and control disease. Flexibility in animal health legislation is crucially important to be able to take swift action against disease and react to new challenges. Regarding plant health, the Commission proposal introduces a proactive approach to ensure an effective phytosanitary protection of its territory.
Plant reproductive material
Following Parliament's reaction in the March plenary on the proposal on Plant Reproductive Material (PRM), the Council has prepared its input for a modified Commission proposal; such proposal is currently under preparation. The Greek Presidency is to present a report on the original proposal, indicating the state of play of discussions and suggestions on the structure and content of possible modifications to this proposal. Commission will examine the suggestions by the Council carefully, since it remains committed and looks forward to cooperating with incoming Presidencies on this file.
Antimicrobials in relation to animals
Information to the Ministers from the Swedish Delegation.
Helene Banner +32 2 295 24 07) - Helene.Banner@ec.europa.eu
Lone Mikkelsen +32 2 299 04 03 – Lone.Mikkelsen@ec.europa.eu
Roger Waite + 32 2 296 14 04 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Fanny Dabertrand + 32 2 299 06 25 – email@example.com
Frédéric Vincent +32 2 298 71 66 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Aikaterini Apostola +32 2 298 76 24 – email@example.com