Conseil Agri-Pêche : focus sur la discussion sur le paquet de réforme de la PAC

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In a nutshell:

—> The Finnish Presidency‘s intention is to pursue the technical discussion & the two forthcoming ‘Agriculture and Fisheries Council’ meetings in November and December to discuss the higher environmental ambition of the CAP and the New Delivery Model. Furthermore, the Presidency intends to present updated drafting suggestions on all three Regulations by early December;
> On the NDM: the Presidency intends to continue the discussion both at the SCA and the Council levels and will present drafting suggestions on how to make the NDM practical and easier to implement in the Member States;  Indeed, the New Delivery Model and the « green architecture » were the main elements highlighted as “more discussion is needed on that »Additional flexibility and simplification « to better adapt the requirements for a higher environmental and climate ambition to member states’ needs were raised many times during the exchangeStill diverging positions on the following points: small farmers, eco-schemes, and minimum expenditure for the fruit and vegetables schemes;
> On the Horizontal Reg: broadly stable (Presidency’s comment in the Report), however still persistent discussion among MS about the scrutiny of transactions & the level of controls; 
> On the Amending Reg: the Presidency intends to further discuss technical details of wine labeling at the Working Party on Agricultural Products on 25 October;
—> Overall, Ministers highlighted their support towards a higher environmental ambition for the new CAP, but they also reiterated once again the importance of an appropriate CAP budget. Many delegations stressed that « no agreement on the CAP reform could be reached before an agreement on the next MFF”. While concerning specifically 2020 EU budget related to Brexit contingency measures, the Council will request the EP’s consent on additional measures aimed at mitigating the impact of a no-deal scenario for funding in a wide range of areas such as research and agriculture (the EU would continue to make payments to UK beneficiaries for contracts signed and decisions made before the withdrawal date or between the withdrawal date and the end of 2019, AS LONG AS the UK continues  to pay into the EU budget for 2020 and also accepts the controls and audits);
—> The Commission’s Communication on World’s Forests was praised overall but some Member States wished to push for further actions for example on the demand side including regulatory and non-regulatory measures. The ideas of building alliances and cooperation with 3rd countries and private sector players as well as the need to further strengthen the current framework and develop systems to attain deforestation free supply chains through certifications and due diligence circulated the discussion in order to rapidly reverse the trend of forest loss. The harmful effects of imported agricultural commodities was frequently cited as a root cause and that the EU needs to translate its policy commitments into its (future) trade agreements;
—>  On the Market situation: Hogan presented an overall general stability of the EU market situation with the exception of the following sectors: olive oil (high level of stocks, high level of harvest & low prices), beef (under constant pressure performing below 2018 levels) and sugar. However, main potential impacts stemming from the upcoming introduction of US additional tariffs following the WTO decision (Airbus case) and Brexit should be closely monitored, he said. Ministers welcomed the positive outlook, but expressed concerns with regards to the persistent difficult situation for the sugar (small signs of recovery), olive oil (very low price levels), beef and rice sectors. Biggest causes for uncertainties are no-deal Brexit (Ireland asked for an exceptional aid regulation in case of a hard Brexit as an additional instrument) & U.S. countermeasures. The need of cumulative impact assessments for trade negotiations (additional imports) was also being raised, together with the necessity to ensure a level-playing field, reactive tools to cope with market disruptions & a better coordination between trade and agri policy;
—>  New market observatories for Wine & Fruit and Veg will soon be available:;
—> Regarding the US additional duties on certain EU agro-food products (Airbus-Boeing WTO dispute) that would be imposed as of 18 October 2019, the Spanish, French and Italian Ministers took the floor and shared their concerns particularly on olive oil and table olives (ES), cheeses (IT) and wine (FR). The Italian delegation asked the Commission for the possibility to activate private storage for cheeses under the CMO regulation, while the French delegation highlighted the need to push for  more promotion activities and finally Spain pinpointed the need for the EU to promote the development of a rules-based international trade system, in view of a better protection for EU farmers; The Commission is wiling to negotiate a solution to avoid main disruptions. Measures as additional promotion activities were mentioned;
—> Indicative Planning / Dates: next planned Agri-Fish Council(s) on November 18 (eco-schemes, conditionality and related control and sanctions, the scope of the 30% ring-fencing under EAFRD, & the treatment of small farmers under conditionality, will be on the agenda + environmental and climate related aspects) and December 16.
full version of the Council report available on FE members area