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Brussels, 10 October 2014
Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 13-14th October 2014
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of October 2014 will take place in Luxembourg on 13-14th October 2014. The Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki and Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Ciolos. A press conference will be held at the end of the discussions on Monday late afternoon (for Agriculture) and Tuesday lunchtime (Fisheries). The public debates and the press conferences can be followed by video streaming: http://video.consilium.europa.eu. Over an official lunch, Ministers will discuss issues related to the Climate and Energy 2030 policy framework ahead of the October 23/24 Summit.
Baltic Sea 2015 fishing opportunities
Political agreement will be sought on the Commission's 3rd September proposal for fixing fishing opportunities for the main commercial fish stocks in the Baltic Sea for 2015. This is the first proposal for fishing opportunities since the entry into force of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy and is thus based on the best available scientific advice and follows the Communication on Fishing Opportunities published in June.
Since some of the fish stocks are now fished at sustainable levels, the Commission proposed to increase the total allowable catch (TAC) by 12% when compared to 2014 to approximately 629 000 tonnes. An average increase by 31% is proposed for four herring stocks, while decreases are proposed for the western cod stock (–48%), sprat (–17%) and two salmon stocks (–15%).
If the Council adopts the catch limits as proposed by the Commission, the number of stocks fished at sustainable level (MSY - Maximum Sustainable Yield) could double in the Baltic in 2015 from three to six stocks, according to scientists.
The agreed fishing opportunities will come into force on 1 January 2015.
EU/Norway: annual consultations for 2015
Ministers will exchange views on the upcoming consultations on the fisheries arrangements between the EU and Norway for 2015. The first round of consultations is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway in the week of 17 November. The Council will be invited to comment on the approach to be taken by the EU on the jointly managed shared stocks in the North Sea and Skagerrak (cod, haddock, saithe, whiting, plaice, herring, mackerel, shrimp, sprat). Ministers will also discuss the approach to discussions on quota exchanges and reciprocal access to each other's waters.
ICCAT Annual meeting
Ministers will exchange views ahead of the Annual Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to be held in Genova, Italy, from 10 to 17 November. The most important decisions that ICCAT will have to take this year on the management of stocks concern Eastern and Western Bluefin tuna, Mediterranean swordfish and skipjack tuna. The Commission will suggest that the EU should follow scientific advice in all ICCAT discussions as per the principles of the new Common Fisheries Policy.
Europe 2020 Strategy
As requested to all Council formations by the Italian Presidency, Ministers will have a discussion about the extent to which the objectives of Europe 2020 can be achieved in the agriculture sector. This will then feed into the work for the European Council in December.
International agricultural trade issues
Commissioner Cioloș will review the state of play with international trade negotiations, focussing on recently concluded agreements, for example with Canada, the Southern African region (SADC) and Ecuador. He will also talk about ongoing trade negotiations.
Any other business
Russian ban on fisheries products from the EU
Commissioner Damanaki will inform Ministers on the impact of the ban on imports of fish and aquaculture products adopted by Russia, and will outline the action taken so far and the possible next steps. Since the entry into force of the ban on 7 August 2014, the Commission has been assessing the scale of the implications of the ban and has been working with Member States to monitor the situation and find possible solutions where needed.
Russian ban on imports of agricultural products from the EU
The Council will hear 3 different updates relating to the Russian measures. Firstly, Commissioner Cioloș will provide a Commission update about the EU market situation in the different sectors and the measures requested to face the impact of this ban, in particular since the Council discussions in September. The Baltic States will highlight the problems that they are witnessing at present on the dairy market. Poland will also outline its position with regard to possible responses to the market difficulties.
International Olive Oil Council (COI)
The Commission will update Ministers on the state of play for renewing the statute of this Madrid-based organisation, which is due to expire at the end of the year.
Commissioner Cioloș (on behalf of Health Commissioner Tonio Borg) will update Ministers on the latest state of play with regard to African Swine Fever – with cases detected in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
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