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2178th Council meeting - AGRICULTURE - Brussels, 17 May 1999

European Council - PRES/99/149   27/05/1999

Other available languages: FR DE DA ES NL IT SV PT FI EL

C/99/149

Brussels, 17 May 1999

8280/99 (Presse 149)

2178th Council meeting

- AGRICULTURE -

Brussels, 17 May 1999

President: M. Karl-Heinz FUNKE

Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Forestry

CONTENTS

PARTICIPANTS

ITEMS DEBATED

For further information call 285.78.33 or 285.68.08

PARTICIPANTS

The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:

Belgium:

Mr Karel PINXTENMinister for Agriculture and Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
Denmark:
Mr Henrik DAM KRISTENSENMinister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries
Germany:
Mr Karl-Heinz FUNKE

Mr Martin WILLE

Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Forestry

State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry

Greece:
Mr Yiorgos ANOMERITISMinister for Agriculture
Spain:
Mr Jesús POSADA MORENOMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
France:
Mr Jean GLAVANYMinister for Agriculture and Fisheries
Ireland:
Mr Joe WALSHMinister for Agriculture and Food
Italy:
Mr Paolo DE CASTROMinister for Agriculture policies
Luxembourg:
Mr Fernand BODENMinister for Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development
Netherlands:
Mr Ewoud PIERHAGENDirector International Office, Ministry of Agriculture
Austria:
Mr Wilhelm MOLTERERFederal Minister for Agriculture and Forestry
Portugal:
Mr Luis CAPOULAS SANTOSMinister for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries
Finland:
Mr Kalevi HEMILÄMinister for Agriculture
Sweden:
Ms Margareta WINBERGMinister for Agriculture
United-Kingdom:
Mr Nick BROWN

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Commission:
Mr Franz FISCHLERMember

State of the pigmeat market

The Council had an exchange of views, on the basis of a memorandum presented by Minister PINXTEN, on the situation of crisis in the pigmeat sector. This memorandum calls for a temporary derogation to the rules applying to national aid, for additional support for pigmeat exports and for other measures to improve the market situation, to be implemented optionally by the Member States.

The Council welcomed the measures already adopted by the Commission which have remedied to some extent the crisis situation. A number of Member States supported part or all of the Belgian requests, while some Member States agreed with the analysis of the Commission according to which the application of the existing instruments might stabilize the market by the end of 1999 and measures which could lead to market distorsions should be avoided.

In conclusion, the Council invited the Commission to continue its monitoring of the market situation, to examine further the concrete suggestions made by the Member States and, where appropriate, to submit formal proposals. It noted that, to this end, a further meeting of the competent Management Committee will take place on 18 May 1999.

Progress reports on bananas and hormone treated beef

The Council had a broad exchange of views on both topics, based on oral reports by Commissioner Fischler.

The Chairman drew the following conclusions:

Bananas

The Council invites the Commission to present shortly the proposal it has announced on the adaptation of the banana CMO - i.e. if possible already in May. This proposal must be compatible with the WTO, without neglecting the interests of the EU producers and of the privileged partners of the Community.

Hormones

The Council invites the Commission to do its utmost in order to obtain, in its dialogue with the USA, an acceptable solution in terms of trade policy, taking into account the criteria of consumer health on the basis of scientific opinions. The existing information does not justify the lifting of the ban.

Residue limits of veterinary medicinal products in foodstuffs of animal origin

The Council approved the following Conclusions related to a Commission proposal amending Regulation (EEC) No 2377/90 laying down a Community procedure for the establishment of maximum residue limits of veterinary medicinal products in foodstuffs of animal origin:

    "1. The Council asks the Commission to submit to it a proposal aimed at incorporating into Community legislation a mechanism for temporary exclusive rights of use for pharmaceutical companies by giving an economic incentive to encourage the compilation of data to establish maximum residue limits (MRLs).

    2. The Council asks the Commission to set out in Annex V to Regulation (EEC) No 2377/90 the specific conditions in which specific MRLs can be laid down during a limited period for the list of substances proposed by the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products.

    3. The Council invites the Commission, in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 10 of Regulation (EEC) No 2377/90 and after consultation of the CVMP and the Standing Veterinary Committee, to establish by 1 January 2000 specific MRLs for certain substances which are essential for therapeutic purposes and which will no longer be authorised after that date.

    4. The Council invites the Commission to draw up as soon as possible a proposal aimed at establishing a Community procedure for identifying veterinary medicinal products urgently required for the treatment of rare species or diseases by using as a model - with the necessary adjustments - the proposal for a Regulation (EC) of the European Parliament and of the Council on orphan medicinal products of 4 September 1998.

    5. The Council asks the Commission to submit as soon as possible a proposal for amendment of Directive 81/851/EEC to change the spillover rules in Article 4(4) of that Directive, in particular to allow, in a therapeutic emergency, medicinal products

     containing substances listed in Annexes I to III to Regulation (EEC) No 2377/90 to be administered to animals other than those stated in the authorisation; this proposal must take account of consumer protection concerns.

    6. The Council urges the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products to make use of the possibility of reducing fees as provided for in Article 9 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2743/98 of 14 December 1998 amending Regulation (EC) No 297/95 on the fees payable to the EMEA and of adjusting the guidelines for minor species as regards the possibility of extrapolating data compiled on major species to minor species and to make these possibilities known to the pharmaceutical companies in an appropriate fashion.

    7. The Council asks the Commission to consider whether, in consultation with the CVMP, it might be possible for the EMEA to carry out studies on the substances determined in accordance with Article 6 of Regulation (EEC) No 2377/90 with a view to fixing an MRL to be used by pharmaceutical companies on payment of a fee to cover costs."

It is recalled that under the present rules maximum residue limits (MRLs) in foodstuff of animal origin must be established for every veterinary medicinal product on the market by 1.1.2000. As a consequence, it is possible that after this date a number of veterinary medicinal products for which MRLs have not yet been fixed will have to be withdrawn from the market.

To facilitate the process of fixing MRLs, the Commission proposal aims at conferring to the Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products the competence for dealing with applications for their establishment, amendment and extension.

antibiotic resistance

The Council gave its endorsement to a draft Resolution entitled "a strategy against the microbial threat", intended for adoption by the "Health" Council.

The Agriculture Council shared the concerns expressed in the draft Resolution as to the danger of antibiotic resistance arising from over-consumption of antibiotics and supported the overall approach to the extent that it is not possible to ascribe excessive use of antibiotics to one sector rather than another. It also expressed the wish that the problem of the use of banned antibiotics in animal production sytems outside the EU be addressed, as third countries allowing their use could continue exporting to the EU meat containing residues of such antibiotics.

ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

AGRICULTURE

AGENDA 2000*

The Council adopted the Regulations relating to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy to be applied from the 2000/2001 marketing year, the italian delegation voting against the Regulation on financing of the CAP. This adoption follows the political agreement of the Agriculture Council (11 March 1999, see press release n° 6124/99 presse 49) and the conclusions of the Berlin Summit on the overall Agenda 2000 package. In particular, the Council adopted :

    - a Regulation establishing a support system for producers of certain arable crops (replacing among others Regulation n° 1765/92);

    - an amendment to Regulation n° 1766/92 on the common organisation of the market of cereals and repealing Regulation n° 2731/75 fixing standard qualities for common wheat, rye, barley, maize and durum wheat;

    - an amendment to Regulation n° 1868/94 establishing a quota system for the production of potato starch;

    - a Regulation on the common organisation of the market in milk and milk products (replacing among others Regulation n° 804/68);

    - an amendment to Regulation n° 3950/92 establishing an additional levy in the milk and milk products sector (milk quotas);

    - a Regulation on the common organisation of the market in beef and veal (replacing among others Regulation n° 805/68);

    - a Regulation on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (repealing 9 existing rules);

    - a Regulation on financing of the Common Agricultural Policy;

    - a Regulation establishing common rules for direct support schemes under the common agricultural policy (horizontal rules);

    - a Regulation on the common organisation of the market in wine (repealing 23 existing rules).

    Main elements of the reform are:

    - the continuation of the 1992 ("Mac Sharry") reform by a further reduction of prices accompanied by an increase in direct payments;

    - the considerable simplification of the rules governing CAP.

    ARABLE CROPS

    - For cereals, oilseeds and protein crops intervention prices are cut by 15 % in two equal steps of 7,5 percentage points starting in the 2000/2001 campaign down to 101.31 euro/t from 119.19 euro/t now.

    - The monthly increments system introducing seasonal price corrections is maintained.

    - Direct payments are increased, in two annual steps, to 63 euro/t from 54/t euro. In the case of oilseeds direct payments per hectare will be reduced in three annual steps to that of cereals, while the reference price system for oilseeds will be abolished in 2000.

    - Protein crops will receive a premium on top of the basic direct payment, bringing total aid to 72.5 euro/t.

    - Compulsory set-aside is retained until 2006/2007, at a basic rate of 10 % from 2000/2001.

    - Voluntary set-aside is maintained, but the scheme will be improved, in particular to take account of environment considerations;

    - compensation for set-aside is established as for arable crops at 63 euro/t from 2001/2002.

    - the minimum price of potatoes intended for the manufacture of starch is set at 178.31 euro/t from 2001/2002, with the payment for producers raised at 110.54 euro/t and a consequent adjustment in the national quotas.

    - member states where maize silage is not a traditional crop, shall have the possibility of making grass silage eligible for the arable crops area payment and of defining specific sub-base areas for grass silage (without changing the total national base area) to which the basic cereals reference yield applies.

    BEEF

The new regulation introduces a 20% reduction of the current intervention price (2780 euro/t) in three steps. From 1July 2002 the intervention price will be replaced by a basic price for private storage fixed at 2224 euro/t. Private storage aid can be granted when, as in the pig meat sector, the average Community market prices is less than 103 % of the basic price.

As from 1 July 2002, a "safety net" intervention system will be set up. When the average market price for bulls or steers in a Member State (or region thereof) is less than 1560 euro/t, buying-in tenders shall be organised in that Member State by the Commission through the Management Committee procedure.

The Regulation also introduces a number of changes which globally increase the levels of the existing premia (basic special premium for male animals and suckler cow premium). It introduces a slaughter premium to be paid directly to the farmer, under condition of a retention period. Its amount will be 80 euro for bulls, steers, dairy cows, suckler cows and heifers (from 8 months for all these categories of animals), and 50 euro for calves (of more than 1 month and less than 7 months and less than 160 kg carcass weight).

A financial envelope per Member State will be introduced which can be used to top up payments on male or female bovine, including dairy cows. This will allow Member States flexibility to compensate for regional differences in production practices and agronomic conditions.

The current extensification premium will be significantly increased. The criteria to qualify are made more rigorous by taking account of all the adult cattle and sheep actually present on the farm. Moreover the number of hectares taken into account is limited to temporary and permanent prairies and all other forage areas, except arable crops. The pasture land, to be defined by Member States, should represent at least 50 % of the total forage area declared.

MILK

All quotas will be increased by 1.5 % in three steps starting in 2005 supplemented by specific increases in five Member States i.e. Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy and the UK (Northern Ireland) who will receive this specific increase in two steps starting in 2000. The future of the regime will be reviewed in 2003 with the aim of allowing the present quota arrangements to run out after 2006.

The intervention prices for butter and skimmed milk powder will be reduced by 15 % in three equal steps, starting in 2005.

To ensure farm incomes are protected a system of aids will be introduced increasing over three years. This aid will increase in three equal steps to 17.24 euro/t in 2007 supplemented by a payment from the EU financial envelope allocated to Member States, which will be also increased over three years from 2005 to 2007.

WINE

The Regulation establishes a new Common Market Organisation for Wine replacing the present 23 Regulations dealing with wine.

The market mechanisms will refocus their aims to the current situation, i.e.: maintain all traditional outlets for wine and vine-based products, allow the Commission to address exceptional cases of serious surplus (so-called "crisis distillation"), ensure continuity of supply and ensure the quality of wine reaching the market. A number of obsolete mechanisms are removed as is the possibility of finding artificial outlets for unmarketable products. The successful application of restructuring and conversion instruments is intended to reduce any potential need to trigger the crisis distillation measures.

A new system for planting rights will enable a disciplined increase of the EU wine production potential to enable the development of areas with a manifest need. A new system for managing planting rights will lead to greater flexibility and allow for the regularisation of plantings. The introduction of an inventory will enhance controls and information.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY

The new policy is guided by a multi-functional, integrated approach to rural development. On the one hand, it recognises that farming plays a number of roles including the preservation of the rural heritage. On the other hand, it recognises that the creation of alternative sources of income must be an integral part of rural development policy.

A major innovation has been to bring a series of rural development measures together in a single, coherent package offering support to all rural areas in 3 main ways:

    - By creating a stronger agricultural and forestry sector. The principal measures include those for the modernisation of agricultural holdings and for the processing and marketing of quality agricultural products. In addition the viability of agricultural holdings will be facilitated by measures for the establishment of young farmers and through improved support to encourage early retirement from farming. Forestry has been recognised as a key element of rural development; a new measure will seek to support the sector where it serves an ecological function.

    - By improving the competitiveness of rural areas. Here, the principal objectives are to support the quality of life of the rural community and to promote diversification into new activities. The measures are designed to create alternative sources of income and employment for farmers and farming families and for the wider rural community.

    - By maintaining the environment and preserving Europe's unique rural heritage. Agri-environment measures will support environment-friendly agricultural methods. They will be the only compulsory element in the new generation of rural development programmes and hence a decisive step towards the recognition of the multi-functional role of agriculture. As an additional measure which will help in the further 'greening' of the CAP, the traditional compensatory allowances in support of farming in less favoured areas will be extended to areas where farming is restricted by the existence of specific environmental constraints.

Guiding principles for the new rural development policy are those of decentralisation of responsibilities and flexibility. It is for the Member States to come forward with proposals for rural development programmes targeted at an appropriate geographical level. They can draw on a menu of rural development measures set out in the Regulation according to their needs and priorities.

Outside the European Union's least developed regions, the so-called Objective 1 regions, rural development measures will be financed from a single source: the EAGGF Guarantee Section.

HORIZONTAL REGULATION

This measure covers all Common Market Organisations providing direct payments. It foresees, in particular :

    - Environmental protection requirements, whereby Member States should define appropriate environmental measures to be applied by farmers, as well as proportionate penalties for environmental infringements involving, where appropriate, the reduction or cancellation of direct payments.

    - A system whereby Member States are authorised to modulate direct payments to farmers, within certain limits, in relation to employment on the farm, overall prosperity of the holding, or the total amount of aid paid to the holding.

    - Funds made available from aid reduction following the environmental or modulation provisions remain available for the respective Member State as an additional Community support for certain measures foreseen in the rural development regulation, i.e. agri-environment measures, less favoured areas, areas with environmental restrictions, early retirement and afforestation.

AID SCHEME FOR RICE PRODUCERS

The Council adopted an amendment to Regulation n° 3508/92 establishing an integrated administration and the control system for certain Community aid schemes as regards the deadlines for submitting applications for compensatory payments under the aid scheme for rice producers.

CONSUMERS

SALE OF CONSUMER GOODS AND ASSOCIATED GUARANTEES

Following the agreement reached at the European Parliament-the Council Conciliation Committee on 18 March 1998, the Council adopted by qualified majority, the Danish delegation voting against and the Netherlands delegation abstaining, the Directive on sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees.

Summary of the contents of the Directive

Definitions and scope

"Consumer goods" means any tangible movable item,normally intended for final use or consumption, with the exception of:

    - goods sold by way of execution or otherwise by authority of law;

    - water and gas where they are not packaged in a specific volume and given quantity;

    - electricity.

Consumers' rights

In the event of non-conformity of the product, four remedies are introduced:

    - repair of the goods, or

    - replacement of the goods, or

    - a price reduction, or

    - rescission of the sales contract.

In the first place, the consumer may require the seller to repair the goods or he may require the seller to replace them, in either case free of charge, unless this is impossible or disproportionate.

Any repair or replacement should be completed within a reasonable time and without any significant inconvenience to the consumer.

Each of these two remedies would be disproportionate if it imposes costs on the seller which, in comparison with the other remedy, are unreasonable taking into account the value the goods would have if there were no lack of conformity, the significance of the lack of conformity and whether the alternative remedy could be completed without significant inconvenience to the consumer.

If the consumer is entitled to require neither repair nor replacement, or if the seller has not completed the remedy within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer, the consumer may require an appropriate reduction of the price or have the contract rescinded.

Time limits

The Directive establishes a period of two years from the delivery of the good, within which a lack of conformity ( existing at the time of delivery) has to become manifest in order to trigger the liability of the seller. The liability of the seller would not exist if, at the moment of conclusion of the contract, the consumer knew or could not be unaware of the lack of conformity.

In the case of secondhand goods, it is possible for the seller and consumer to agree on a shorter time period for the liability of the seller. However, such shorter period may not be less than one year. As it is generally impossible to replace second-hand goods, the right of replacement for the consumer will generally not be available for these goods.

Member States may provide that the consumer, in order to benefit from his rights, must inform the seller of the lack of conformity within a period of 2 months from the date on which he detected such lack of conformity.

Determination of a lack of conformity

The Directive establishes for the assessment of a lack of conformity in cases of litigation before a court the concept of a rebuttable presumption, which means that the seller, who is liable for any lack of conformity( defect of the good), may demonstrate on the basis of certain criteria that, at the moment of delivery, the good was in conformity with the contract. The wording of this text takes account of different national traditions.

Producer liability

The Directive does not cover producer liability, but suggests that producers' direct liability for defects for which he is responsible may need to be foreseen at a later stage in the light of the experience acquired in implementing this Directive. To this effect, the Commission shall, not later than 4 years after the date of the transposition by the Member States of the Directive review the application of the Directive and submit to the Council and the European Parliament a report, accompanied, if appropriate, by proposals.

Additional producer and seller guarantee

In order to ensure transparency for the consumer and thus to avoid that she/he may be misled, the text lays down the principle that such a guarantee must

    - legally bind the offerer;

    - state that the consumer has legal rights under applicable national legislation governing the sale of consumer goods and make clear that the consumer's rights under these are not affected by the guarantee;

    - set out in plain intelligible language the contents of the guarantee and the essential particulars necessary for making claims under the guarantee, notably the duration and territorial scope of the guarantee as well as the name and address of the guarantor, and

    - on request by the consumer, be made available in writing or feature in another durable medium available and accessible to him.

ENVIRONMENT

COMMUNITY STRATEGY ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Further to the discussions which took place at the Council meeting of 11 March 1999 (Environment) the Council has now agreed on the following Conclusions:

    "1. The Council believes that the Buenos Aires Plan of Action is a satisfactory result of COP4. It includes a programme of work on the further implementation of the Convention, inter alia on further assistance to developing countries through the financial mechanism and the development and transfer of technology, as well as on key issues of the Kyoto Protocol, in particular the Kyoto mechanisms, compliance and policies and measures. The Council believes that urgent preparatory work is needed in order to implement the Buenos Aires Plan of Action by COP6.

    2. In this regard, the Council confirms, as a basis for further negotiations at the sessions of SBSTA/SBI from 31 May to 11 June 1999 and thereafter, the additional proposals submitted since COP 4 (1) by the European Community and its Member States to the UNFCCC Secretariat. It believes that EC positions on all elements of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action should be further developed, including in particular on the following priorities, with a view to reaching decisions on these matters by COP6:

    • the further elaboration of concrete proposals for principles, rules, modalities and guidelines for the Kyoto mechanisms, which shall include the definition of a concrete ceiling on the use of the Kyoto mechanisms as contained in paragraph 3 below, and which shall be undertaken with priority given to the clean development mechanism (CDM), and

    • the further elaboration of a comprehensive, strong, efficient and effective compliance system.

    3. The Council recalls its conclusions of 23 March, 16/17 June and 6 October 1998 and reaffirms that the provisions in Articles 6, 12 and 17 of the Protocol require that domestic action should provide the main means of meeting the commitments under Article 3 of the Protocol and that a concrete ceiling on the use of the Kyoto mechanisms should be defined.

    In the view of the Council a properly defined ceiling will encourage Annex B Parties to develop strong domestic policies and measures in order to modify long term emission trends, the technological structure, especially long-lived infrastructure, and production and consumption patterns. Thereby it will also contribute to preparing the path for more ambitious commitments in the second and subsequent commitment periods. Such a ceiling should also contribute to limiting the displacement of domestic action by "hot air".

    The Council recalls that a concrete ceiling on the use of the Kyoto mechanisms should be defined in quantitative and qualitative terms based on equitable criteria. It recognises that there are different ways of approaching the definition of supplementarity, taking into account inter alia the uncertainty that still exists on the structure of the Kyoto mechanisms. In order to provide a basis for further negotiations with other Parties whom we urge to join us in this endeavour, the Council agrees on the following proposal for such a definition :

      a) Net acquisitions by an Annex B Party for all three Kyoto mechanisms together must not exceed the higher of the two following alternatives:

    5 % of: its base year emissions multiplied by 5 plus its assigned amount(2)

2

or

    50 % of:  the difference between its annual actual emissions in any year of the period from 1994 to 2002, multiplied by 5, and its assigned amount

However, this ceiling on net acquisitions can be increased to the extent that an Annex B Party achieves emission reductions larger than this ceiling in the commitment period through domestic action undertaken after 1993, if demonstrated by the Party in a verifiable manner and subject to the expert review process to be developed under Article 8 of the Kyoto Protocol.

    b) Net transfers by an Annex B Party for all three Kyoto mechanisms together must not exceed:

5 % of: its base year emissions multiplied by 5 plus its assigned amount

2

     However, this ceiling on net transfers can be increased to the extent that an Annex B Party achieves emission reductions larger than this ceiling in the

    commitment period through domestic action undertaken after 1993, if demonstrated by the Party in a verifiable manner and subject to the expert review process to be developed under Article 8 of the Kyoto Protocol.

4. Furthermore, the Council reaffirms the need for an early agreement of the COP on the determination of the part of the emission limitation and reduction commitment under Article 3 that can be met through certified emission reductions accruing from CDM projects in accordance with Article 12.3 (b) of the Kyoto Protocol.

    5. The Council believes that, in order to demonstrate progress in the implementation of the commitments of Annex I Parties under the Protocol, in particular by 2005 in accordance with Article 3.2 of the Protocol, Annex I Parties should report on their achievements in the fourth and subsequent national communications using appropriate indicators and benchmarks.

    The Council believes that such a set of indicators and benchmarks should be developed taking into account national circumstances and respective capabilities and be included in the guidelines under Articles 7.2/7.4 of the Protocol to be adopted at COP6.

    6. The Council recalls that the trading of so-called "hot air" should not lead to overall reductions being lower than would otherwise be the case. This issue may be further addressed through the rules on trading.

    7. The Council believes that far greater global limitation and reduction efforts will be necessary in the next decades. Therefore, the Council regrets that no decision concerning the second review of the adequacy of commitments in Article 4.2 (a) and (b) of the Convention could be taken at COP4. Consequently, this issue needs to be resolved at COP5.

    In this context, the Council recalls that it is essential to reach agreement on a further refinement of a definition of the ultimate objective of the Convention. The Council recalls its conclusion that global average temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level and that therefore concentration levels lower than 550 ppm CO2 should guide global limitation and reduction efforts. The question of what additional action is required to meet the ultimate objective also needs to be addressed on the basis of the results of the IPCC Third Assessment Report.

    Far greater global limitation and reduction efforts will require increasingly global participation to meet the ultimate objective of the Convention. In this respect, the Council welcomes the steps by developing countries already taken under the Convention to combat climate change and urges them to publicise them further. The national communications of non-Annex I Parties should provide valuable information in this regard. It recognises the wide range of conditions prevailing in developing countries and encourages them to take further steps consistent with their own priorities and needs for sustainable development, making full use of the support offered to them through the financial mechanism of the Convention. The Council welcomes the new opportunities provided through the Global Environment Facility as a result of CoP4, and reaffirms its intention to fully support the Global Environment Facility in its role as the financial mechanism of the Convention.

    8. The Council believes that further deepening and broadening of contacts and co-operation with other Parties, especially non-Annex I Parties, will be necessary for a successful implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, especially on issues related to the Kyoto mechanisms and compliance.

    9. The Council believes that reversing emission trends in Annex I countries and the implementation of their Convention commitments are important to further strengthen the role of developing countries in the Convention process. In this regard, the Council believes that Annex I countries should promote an exchange of information on national experiences with respect to the implementation of the Convention commitments and to plans for the implementation of the Protocol. In this context, the Council believes that inter alia the FCCC workshop on the assessment of "best practices" in policies and measures is important. It should also contribute to cooperation between Annex I Parties. The Council also believes that activities in other fora such as ongoing work in the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) on energy and sustainable development would further assist the effective implementation of the commitments of all Parties.

    10. The Council underlines the importance of an early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in order to implement as soon as possible the commitments under the Protocol. It is convinced that the early implementation of sound national strategies by the Member States, the further elaboration and implementation of common and co-ordinated policies and measures, as well as progress on the implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action are essential contributions to the ratification process. It requests the Ad hoc Group to consider necessary elements in the preparation for ratification by the Community and its Member States and to report back to the Council in October 1999.

    11. The Council recalls the commitments of the European Council to integrate environment and sustainable development into all Community policies in view of the Amsterdam Treaty. The Council believes that the integration of climate change issues into other policies, especially energy, transport, agriculture, development, internal market and industry, as well as early and substantial progress on effective common and co-ordinated policies and measures is of great importance in order to implement the commitments of the European Community and the Member States under the Protocol. In this regard the Council recalls its conclusions of 23 March (Environment), 11 May (Energy), 16/17 June (Environment), 17 June (Joint Environment/Transport), 6 October (Environment), 13 November (Energy), 24/25 November (Agriculture), and 30 November/1 December 1998 (Transport) as well as the Presidency conclusions of the European Council of 11/12 December 1998. It urges the Commission to finalise its report for the Cologne European Council as soon as possible and requests the Commission to take these conclusions into account in preparing its report.

    12. The Council notes the work currently under way in the ECOFIN on the Commission's draft Energy Products Directive. The Council is of the opinion that decisions in this context should aim to give incentives to improve energy efficiency, to increase the share of renewable energy, and to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

     The Council further underlines that there can be no environmental justification for a tax exemption for aircraft fuel. The Council requests the Commission to finalise its communication on the impact of aircraft fuel taxation as a matter of urgency in order to allow the Council to decide on this subject. In this context, the Council recalls its conclusions of 23 March and 16/17 June 1998 urging Annex I Parties to pursue work through ICAO to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    13. The Council reiterates its belief that further common and co-ordinated policies and measures (CCPMs) are essential for the European Community and its Member States to meet the commitments of the Protocol. In this regard the Council reaffirms its conclusions of 16/17 June 1998 and in particular urges the Commission to submit without delay further proposals on common measures in accordance with paragraph 11 of these conclusions. The Council also notes with appreciation the outcome of the Council in its Energy formation on 11 May 1999 including the areas identified for further work inter alia on the following climate-related issues:

    • Strategy for giving effect to environmental integration and sustainable development within the area of energy policy,

    • Programme for energy efficiency, taking into account the Commission communication on energy efficiency and its intention to prepare an action plan,

    • Reduction of "stand-by" losses,

    • Programme for renewable energies taking into account the White Paper for Renewable Energies, and

    • Access of electricity from renewable energy sources to the internal market.

    The Council looks forward to further action on climate-related CCPMs in all the appropriate formations of the Council as requested by the Cardiff and Vienna European Councils.

    14. The Council requests the ad hoc Group to continue and further strengthen its work on the above-mentioned items."

    (1) Submissions were put forward on the clean development mechanism (Art. 12), on emission trading (Art. 17) and on joint implementation (Art. 6), on compliance, on activities implemented jointly, on land-use, land-use change and forestry (Articles 3.3 and 3.4 of the Protocol), on the development and transfer of technology, on the implementation of Art. 4.8 and 4.9 of the Convention, on the guidelines for the preparation of national communications and of annual greenhouse gas inventories of Annex I Parties, on methodological issues related to greenhouse gas inventories, on the review process of national communications and greenhouse gas inventories for Annex I Parties, on the consideration of national communications as well as the timing of second national communications of non-Annex I Parties, on education, training and public awareness, and on impacts of single projects.

    (2)As defined in Article 3 of the Kyoto Protocol


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