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European Commission Daily News 27th October

COLLEGE MEETING: Commission decides to register a new European Citizens’ Initiative on environmental protection

The European Commission has today decided to register a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) entitled “Call to Action – Environmental protection in all policies”. policies). The organizers of this initiative call on the Commission to present a proposal for a legal act aimed at ensuring that Member States take into account environmental considerations when adopting measures at national level. As this ECI fulfills the necessary conditions, the Commission considers that it is legally admissible. At this stage, the Commission has not analyzed the proposal in substance. For more information, the press release is available online .

Increase in EU exports thanks to stronger implementation and enforcement of trade agreements and global trade rules

In 2020, the effective implementation and enforcement of European Union (EU) trade agreements and international trade rules resulted in an increase in EU exports of € 5.4 billion, which proves that the efforts of the European Commission are bearing fruit and having tangible results ranging from the elimination of trade barriers to the fight against unfair trade practices, including the adoption of measures relating to trade and development sustainable. Over the past year, the Commission has also developed other legal instruments aimed at strengthening the capacity of the EU to defend its essential interests and protect its open strategic autonomy. The Commission’s first comprehensive annual report on the implementation and enforcement of trade law, published today, describes the measures adopted by the Commission, in close cooperation with EU businesses, Member States and stakeholders, to keep markets open and to ensure that EU trading partners honor their commitments. It focuses on four priority areas: 1) making full use of the opportunities offered by EU trade agreements; 2) encourage the use of small businesses in trade agreements; 3) tackle barriers to trade; and 4) enforce trade commitments through dispute settlement. Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President and Trade Commissioner, said: “A strong trade policy is to ensure that our partners live up to their commitments and, in so doing, directly support European businesses and jobs. As this report shows, we are making real progress on both fronts. We now have a European trade compliance officer who is fully committed to enforcing and implementing our trade agreements as well as ensuring that our SMEs – keystones of the European economy – take full advantage of our trade agreements. We will soon unveil proposals to further defend our trade interests through a new anti-coercive instrument. “A press release is online . 

Commission publishes state of play on unfair trading practices rules for agri-food supply chain

Today, the Commission published the report on the state of play of the transposition and implementation of the unfair trading practices (UTPs) Directive, covering the 16 Member States that notified complete transposition to the Commission by July 2021. Adopted in April 2019, the Directive aims at protecting farmers, farmers organisations and other weaker suppliers of agricultural and food products against stronger buyers. The report shows that the 16 Member States generally followed the approach of the Directive. A majority of them went beyond the minimum protection level for farmers and small agri-food businesses established in the Directive. Most Member States have extended the Directive’s list of unfair trading practices (UTP) or made the prohibitions stricter. Member States generally follow the sectoral approach of the legislation and apply the requirements to the agri-food supply chain. When looking at the type of operators and the type of relationships affected by the legislative measures, the report notes that 14 Member States determined that the rules apply to relationships between suppliers and buyers of agricultural and food products at any stage of the supply chain. Regarding business size, all Member States, except two, refer to business size as a criterion for limiting the scope of application of the legislation. Most Member States chose to apply the rules to sale transactions in which either the supplier or the buyer, or both, are established in the EU, as set out in the Directive. Looking into the prohibited UTPs, all Member States used lists of prohibited practices and most of them followed the ‘black’ and ‘grey’ distinction. While distinguishing between the two, a few Member States moved one or more ‘grey list’ practices into the ‘black list’. Relatively more common is the adding of additional practices to the ‘black’ and ‘grey’ lists. The report gives an overview of the state of play of the transposition and implementation of the Directive on UTPs in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain. It covers the scope of application, the UTPs prohibited and the enforcement mechanisms chosen by Member States. More information is available here

Farm to Fork Strategy: Commissioner Kyriakides starts her Member States’ tour in Cyprus

On 29 October, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, will be in Nicosia, Cyprus, where she will meet with the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment, Costas Kadis. Discussions will focus on the Farm to Fork Strategy, and the state of play of its implementation in Cyprus with regard to the use of pesticides, animal welfare, antimicrobial resistance, and the latest developments relating to Halloumi/Hellim. The meeting will be followed by a meeting with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce, a visit of the Riverland bio farm and a dog care shelter in Kokkinotrimithia. Ahead of the visit, Commissioner Kyriakides said: “The Farm to Fork Strategy is our transformative vision on the way food is produced and consumed in the EU. The way we produce, distribute and consume food needs to change. Our health is a continuum, across the human, animal, plant and planetary dimensions. I am looking forward to discussing how the EU can further support Cyprus’ shift to a food system which is fairer, greener and more sustainable for everyone.” These actions are part of the Commission’s on-going efforts and Commissioner Kyriakides‘s commitment to support the implementation of the Farm to Fork Strategy across the Member States. 

Read the European Commission Daily News in full here.

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