Antitrust: Commission consults on draft guidelines on joint selling of olive oïl, beef, veal and arable crops – 15 January 2015
The European Commission is inviting comments on new draft guidelines on the application of EU antitrust rules in the agricultural sector. After a reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), new specific rules apply to the sale of olive oil, beef and veal livestock and arable crops. In particular, the new rules allow producers to jointly commercialise these products if certain conditions are fulfilled, including that their cooperation creates significant efficiencies. The Commission’s guidelines will contribute to ensuring that the implementation of the CAP reform improves the functioning of the food supply chain and safeguards effective competition and innovation on the markets for agricultural products. Responses to the public consultation can be submitted until 5 May 2015. In light of the submissions received, the Commission will then review its proposal, with the aim of adopting final guidelines by the end of 2015. On 1 January 2014, the new EU CAP (see also Memo) entered into force, including a specific competition regime for certain agricultural products. In particular, the reform allows producers jointly commercialise olive oil, beef and veal livestock and arable crops via producer organisations or associations of producer organisations, provided that: i. Such organisations should make farmers significantly more efficient by providing supporting services, such as storage, distribution or transport services; and ii. The quantity marketed by the organisation does not exceed certain thresholds. The Commission is now providing guidance on how these new rules can be best used to boost investment and growth, while maintaining a level playing field for all operators in the Single Market. In particular, the draft guidelines set out:
- examples of how producer organisations can provide services that generate significant efficiencies for farmers;
- guidance on how to check that the volumes marketed by producer organisations do not exceed certain production volume limits; and
- the situations in which competition authorities may apply a safeguard clause and have joint commercialisation contracts by a producer organisation re-opened or cancelled.
National competition authorities and ministries of agriculture have already been consulted on this proposal. The Commission now invites stakeholders to provide their views on the draft guidelines. Contributions can be sent until 5 May 2015. The Commission will present the proposals in a conference on 4 March 2015 to stakeholders, national competition authorities and ministries of agriculture. The full text of the proposals is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/consultations/2015_cmo_regulation/index_en.html Background The Commission’s impact assessment in the context of the CAP reform pointed out the need to improve the functioning of the food supply chain and to create the right conditions for the agricultural sector to become more competitive and innovative. In particular, this implies encouraging cooperation between farmers while ensuring competition in the sector. The 2013 CAP Reform modifies antitrust rules for the agricultural sector, in particular as regards the olive oil, beef and veal and arable crops sectors. The new rules are laid out in Regulation 1308/2013 establishing a Common Market Organisation for agricultural products (“CMO Regulation“). In June 2014, the Commission announced that it would provide guidelines about potential competition law issues arising in the implementation of this new regime. Moreover, the Parliament has requested to ensure a consistent application of the 2013 CAP reform across EU Member States and Article 206 of the CMO Regulation requires the Commission to adopt guidelines to that effect where appropriate.
CAP context indicators – 14 January 2015 Context indicators reflect relevant aspects of the general contextual trends in the economy, environment and society that are likely to have an influence on the implementation, achievements and performance of the CAP. A set of 45 indicators has been identified to describe the general context in which policy measures are designed, planned and implemented. They form part of the monitoring and evaluation framework for the CAP 2014-2020 and are used in rural development programmes for a comprehensive overall description of the current situation of the programming area. The European Commission provides an annual update of data (subject to availability) for these indicators. >> Go to the 2014 context indicator update
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION Campaign on the new CAP “Taking care of our roots” http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-for-our-roots/index_en.htm Basic regulations of the new CAP http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/newsroom/155_en.htm Legal proposals http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-post-2013/legal-proposals/index_en.htm
13/12/2014 Phil Hogan Commissioner said Simplification as a top priority in 2015
31/07/2014 Official Journal L277
The European Commission has today published further detailed rules relating to the implementation of the CAP reform.
These include delegated and implementing acts linked to support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) (supplementing the “Rural Development” Basic Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013).
>> Read the delegated act in the Official Journal
>> Read the implementing act in the Official Journal
With the publication of these texts, Member States now have all the detailed elements they require in order to programme and implement rural development support as part of the CAP reform at national and regional level.
The European Commission also published the implementing act laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 (the “Horizontal Regulation”) with regard to the integrated administration and control system (IACS), rural development measures and cross compliance.
>> Read the implementing act in the Official Journal
This complements the recent publication, on 20 June 2014, of delegated and implementing acts linked to direct payments (supplementing the “Direct Payments” Basic Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013), and of a delegated act relating to the integrated administration and control system (IACS) and conditions for refusal or withdrawal of payments and administrative penalties applicable to direct payments, rural development support and cross compliance.
With today’s publication, the entire set of rules related to direct payments schemes, including from an administration and control point of view, is now available to Member States and farmers. Member States now have all the detailed elements they require in order to implement direct payment aspects of CAP reform at national or regional level as from 1 January 2015.
>> Broad summary of the main elements of these (and other) delegated acts, originally published on
A report published today by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) reveals that the Commission did not adequately supervise Member States for the calculation of payment entitlements to EU farm support under the Single Payment Scheme in the period 2010-2012. The distribution of the available support by the Member States was not always consistent with EU principles and policy objectives and the payment entitlements were sometimes incorrectly calculated.”
CAP Reform: further delegated and implementing acts on aspects of direct payments and rural development
20/06/2014 >> Read the working document 20/06/2014 Official Journal L181 11/03/2014 Delegated acts on the CAP Reform – an explanation of the main elements
CAP reform – basic Regulations
The four basic EU regulations of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are published in the Official Journal of 20 December 2013.
These four legislative texts reflect the political agreement between the European Commission, EU Member States Agriculture Ministers (in the Council) and the European Parliament. With these new rules, the vast majority of CAP legislation will be defined under four consecutive Regulations – a significant simplification – covering:
To ensure a smooth transition, Regulation 1310/2013 lays down certain transitional provisions as regards the application of the four basic regulations in the year 2014.