Mon. Jan 30th, 2023

Agriculture

Infographic – A fairer, greener and more performance-based EU agricultural policy

See full infographic

 

Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy

The main item on the agenda for this month’s Council meeting was the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. The Portuguese presidency asked ministers to accept the provisional agreement on the main political issues reached with the European Parliament during inter-institutional negotiations on Thursday and Friday.

Following a discussion of some of the main points, including environmental measures and the social dimension of the CAP, ministers accepted the provisional deal reached with the Parliament on the three regulations that make up the CAP reform package. Further technical work will now be carried out to finalise the legal texts, following which MEPs will be invited to vote on the reform package. The reform will then enter into EU law upon its adoption by the Council.

Today we have agreed the most ambitious CAP to date. This is a good deal for farmers and for Europe, which will strengthen the European agri-food system, making it more sustainable and fairer for everyone. The agreement provides for a modernised CAP that supports the transition to greener and more climate-friendly farming, increases respect for social and labour rights, and ensures that farmers remain competitive without leaving anyone behind.

Maria do Céu Antunes, Portuguese Minister for Agriculture

Market situation

Ministers discussed the agricultural market situation in their respective member states and invited the Commission to provide a response to any concerns. They welcomed the strong recovery of the EU’s food sector following the gradual re-opening of food services and the lifting of the restrictions on the movement of people and goods associated with the COVID-19 crisis. Nevertheless, some member states reported issues in specific sectors and regions that had affected the income of producers. These included Brexit, African swine fever and avian influenza, high feed costs for livestock, and the unseasonably cold weather in early April.

Biological control agents

Ministers submitted a request to the Commission for a study on the situation in the EU regarding the introduction, evaluation, production, marketing and use of biological control agents. They also invited the Commission to put forward a proposal on possible measures if necessary in view of the result of the study.

Biological control agents (BCAs) are a sustainable form of plant pest control that can provide an alternative to the use of chemical products. Nevertheless, there are currently significant differences among member states in terms of their approach to the assessment, use and placing on the market of BCAs. A more harmonised EU framework could therefore increase the availability and guarantee the safe use of this form of pest control.

  • Council Decision requesting the Commission to submit a study on biological control agents
Setting a protection goal for honey bees

Ministers held an exchange of views on the need to set a Specific Protection Goal (SPG) for honey bees, based on the latest guidance from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) regarding the risk posed by pesticide use. In particular, they considered the Commission’s recommendation to set the maximum allowed reduction of bee colony sizes at 10%. Under the proposed SPG, member states would be required to take action if honey bee colonies were demonstrated to have lost more than 10% of their size due to pesticide use. The Commission also proposed that the same SPG apply to the whole of the EU. On the whole ministers agreed on the need to set an ambitious, EU-wide SPG to protect honey bees from pesticides. They also emphasised that the assessments needed to be based on scientific findings, as well as being feasible to implement.

 

Fisheries

 

Regulation on Fisheries Control

The Council adopted a general approach on the revision of the fisheries control system. The aim of this revision, proposed by the European Commission in May 2018, is to modernise the rules for monitoring fisheries activities, make them more efficient and effective, and ensure compliance with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and other EU policies. It is the first major revision of the EU’s fisheries control system since 2009. The adoption of the Council’s general approach paves the way for inter-institutional negotiations with the European Parliament.

Establishing a Council position on the fisheries control regulation has been a key priority for the Portuguese presidency, and we are very pleased with the result of today’s discussion. The proposed general approach will ensure that fisheries control can be modernised and simplified while also bringing it in line with EU fishing policy.

Ricardo Serrão Santos, Minister of the Sea of Portugal

Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): state of play and fishing opportunities for 2022

The Commission presented to ministers its annual communication on the state of play of the CFP and on fishing opportunities for 2022. This communication and the ensuing discussion was the first stage of a consultation process between member states, advisory councils, stakeholders and the public on fishing opportunities for 2022, which will run until 31 August 2021.

Any other business

Maritime Spatial Planning Directive

Ministers received information from the Commission on the implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, which came into force in September 2014. The directive applies to 22 member states with coastal regions, and the deadline for transposing it into national law was 31 March 2021. Ministers thanked the Commission for the information provided.

European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF)

Ministers received information from the Commission on the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) programming exercise, with a particular focus on maximising the added value of public investment in fisheries and aquaculture. The Commission noted that the fund could play a decisive role in supporting the European fisheries and aquaculture sectors, which are going through a challenging period as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.

  • Regulation establishing the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund – Council position
Situation in the North East Atlantic

Ministers received information from the French, Irish and Spanish delegations about the current situation in the North East Atlantic as regards fishing relations with third countries in the region. In particular they discussed the consequences of Norway’s decision to reduce the EU’s quota for cod in the Svalbard area, as well as the unilateral setting of quotas by Iceland and the Faroe Islands for mackerel in the North Sea.

Food supplements on the EU market

The presidency presented a report on the state of play of the rules applying to the placing of food supplements on the EU market, and put forward a number of potential option for improving the current situation. In particular, it referred to the need to update the definition of food supplements, further harmonise the conditions of access to the market, and increase awareness among consumers and professionals of the risks of inappropriate or excessive intake of these products. Following this presentation, member states held an exchange of views, with many expressing their support for the conclusions of the report.

Joint action on antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections (JAMRAI)

The Commission updated ministers on the state of play of the European Joint Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections (EU-JAMRAI) and outlined the next steps for this action. Following this presentation, a number of ministers took the floor to express support for the Commission’s proposal to harmonise provisions on antimicrobial resistance across all member states. The presidency concluded by emphasising the global aspect of the threat and the need to take action at international level.

  • JAMRAI state of play – information from the Commission
  • JAMRAI website
Fur farming in the EU

Austria and the Netherlands presented to ministers a note signed by several other delegations on the issue of fur farming in the European Union. They called on the European Commission to undertake appropriate action to end fur farming in Europe, setting out their reasons for this request in terms of animal welfare, ethical considerations and the risks posed to public health. A number of ministers took the floor to express their support for this proposal.

49th conference of EU paying agency directors

The presidency provided ministers with information on the 49th Conference of Directors of EU Paying Agencies, which took place online on 9 June 2021. The meeting was attended by member state delegations and representatives of the European Commission and the European Court of Auditors (ECA). Topics discussed included the CAP reform, auditing and assurance, the FaST pilot project, conflicts of interest, and risk management.

  • 49th conference of EU paying agency directors
Regional economic accounts for agriculture (REAA) and statistics on agricultural inputs and outputs (SAIO)

The presidency provided ministers with an update on the state of play of the Council deliberations on the Commission proposals for the Regional Economic Account for Agriculture (REAA) and for Statistics on Agricultural Input and Output (SAIO), and stressed how useful these regulations would be in terms of monitoring and evaluation of the Common Agricultural Policy.

  • Proposal for a regulation on regional economic accounts for agriculture – Council mandate
  • Proposal for a regulation on statistics on agricultural input and output
Fourth African Union and European Union Agriculture Ministerial Conference

The Commission briefed ministers on the outcome of the fourth African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) agricultural ministerial conference, which took place on 22 June 2021. Following interventions from a number of member states, the presidency concluded by thanking the Commission and reiterating the importance of consolidating and strengthening political dialogue on agriculture with partners in the African region.

Recent natural catastrophe in Czechia

The Czech delegation updated ministers on the recent natural catastrophe in Czechia and the serious damage caused to the agricultural sector as a result. It called on the EU to provide financial and other assistance to help address this situation. Many member states took the floor to support Czechia’s request and express their solidarity.

  • Recent natural catastrophe and serious damages caused to the agricultural sector
Meeting information
  • Meeting n°3806
  • Luxembourg
  • 28-29 June 2021
Preparatory documents
Outcome documents
Press releases
Forward to your friends
GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner