AGRI-FISH COUNCIL: FOCUS ON DISCUSSION ON CAP PRESIDENCY’s REPORT & INFO POINTS
In a nutshell:
-Views over the progress report on the Post-2020 CAP reform package
—> At the opening of this last round of Council meetings under the Finnish Presidency, the Finnish Minister specified that this progress report on the reform was neither an exhaustive inventory of the positions expressed nor even the Council’s position for future interinstitutional negotiations, and that the report therefore did not require the consent of delegations.
—> The vast majority of delegations expressed their satisfaction with the progress report on the CAP reform presented by the outgoing Finnish Presidency, considering that it accurately reflected the state of play and highlighted the points still open.
Delegations (12) recalled the need for a strong CAP budget, commensurate with the requirements of the Green Deal, with some specifying that the budget should be maintained at the current level of 27 in current euro (FR, AT, SP, BG, CY, RO, IE, CZ).
The Presidency’s proposal for a single common percentage for environmental and climate measures is supported by many delegations (EE, PT, SP, LU, DK, CY, SL, DE, SE, CZ), but others prefer the current provisions proposed by the EC (AT, RO, IE). The list of measures to be included still needs to be clarified (PT, SP, SL CZ, LT).
Exemption from cross compliance requirements for small farmers is still required from EE, HU, EL, BG, CY, MT. The Presidency’s proposal is not a simplification in the PT’s view.
Regulation strategic plans
The compulsory nature of Ecoscheme within the first pillar is still a matter of debate, with FR, SE and NL in favour, while AT, HU and MT are opposed.
The governance of plans is still a problem for EU federal states (BE, IT, SP).
The common definition of “real farmer” is still to be clarified (SP).
The new governance model still raises many questions and expectations (14 delegations) in terms of clarification (definition of unit amounts, frequency of performance evaluation), simplification (reduction in the number of performance indicators in particular) and increased flexibility.
As regards coupled support, several delegations were in favour of maintaining the 15% rate (FR, HU, CY, CZ, BG), in particular to encourage increased EU production of plant proteins.
As regards the capping of aid, CZ remains attached to the voluntary nature, while AT and EE endorsed the Presidency’s proposal.
LV, RO, CZ and LT called for further work on the external convergence of direct payments within the EU, with DK and CY expressly opposing it.
LT and RO were in favour of maintaining the EUR 2 000 threshold for the application of financial discipline.
PT and HU called for the continuation of investment measures in irrigation in order to foster farm resilience in a context of climate change.
The obligation to include environmental and climate measures in sectoral interventions still elicits rejection, regulatory tools to deal with market disruptions are still expected, and the reduction of the envelopes for school programs is met with disapproval.
Finally, with regard to the Green Deal, PT and DE expressed their satisfaction with the central role given to agriculture through the Farm to fork strategy, and with the possibility of translating the ambition of this deal into strategic plans.
—> In concludings remarks, Commissioner Wojciechowski speaking to the ones opposing the external convergence, told that everyone needs support. He was convinced that farmers from all MS deserve better protection & better support for the budget. The need was to avoid competition between farmers and MS, optimize across the board. He mentioned the Green Deal as a historic opportunity that we shall seize upon. He also stressed that we need to convince people and decision maker that it is worth to support agriculture and farmers.
-‘Any other Business items’
—> Long-term funding of the EU Minor Uses Coordination Facility (EUMUCF)
The new Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides was pleased to hear the almost unanimous support of delegations for the coordinating body. She also recalled that the coordinating body is part of the OneHealth initiative.
—> Information to consumers on the origin of food products
Commissioner Stella Kyriakides described the subject as “sensitive”, with “strong and divergent views among Member States”, saying that what matters is the interest of consumers, which is changing and is now moving towards greater transparency, particularly on origin. “We must assume and meet expectations and I understand the measures taken by the Member States”.
Recalling that the implementing act will enter into force in April 2020, the Commissioner said that while several Member States had said they were waiting for the EC to evaluate the experiments, it was the MS that were evaluating, with the EC then working to compile the MSs’ evaluations of their pilot experiments.
The Commissioner concluded by stressing that there are more and more national experiences and that this is not a long-term solution. “A functioning Internal Market is essential, we will come back to information on the origin of products under the F2F strategy”.
—> Impact of US tariffs on European agrifood products
Commissionner Wojciechowski stressed that EC closely monitors the impact of US sanctions in order to evaluate any need for specific measure, and that EC is trying to find a negotiated solution with US.
He also added that: 1° – CAP foresees some instruments that could mitigate the effects if so needed; All the instruments of the CAP that are at our disposal will be used in order to remedy the situation 2° – EU resolves the possibility to apply sanctions on US products once the Boeing case is finished 3° – COM is opening up new markets with FTAs 4° – EC will regularly give update on this important issue and is in close cooperation with Commissioner Hogan
—> Indicative dates : next planned Agri-Fish Council on 27 January 2020
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