09 Feb 2016
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 09 FEBRUARYBrussels Daily
European Commission and Colombia to start negotiations on the trade of organic products
The European Commission and the government of Colombia announced today the start of negotiations towards a bilateral agreement on trade in organic products. Such an agreement would allow a larger market for organic farmers, a reduced burden for companies and ensure availability of more organic products to consumers. The announcement took place during the official visit of the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development to Colombia. In Cali, Phil Hogan said: “I welcome the start of negotiations with Colombia with a view to concluding an agreement on trade in organic products. The organic sector continues to be one of the most dynamic production sectors the EU agri-food sector, and Colombia has great potential to develop opportunities for organic farmers and businesses, with the guarantee for the consumer of a solid control system. We have to be open to examining further technical dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Colombia on matters such as organics. Today’s high level event constitutes a good example of how the organic sectors of both the EU and Colombia can cooperate and both benefit in building a long-term vision”. Although not part of the Trade Agreement in force since 2013 between the EU and Colombia and Peru, this new agreement will be earmarked in the privileged relationship of cooperation and trade facilitation that has been established since then. The organic sector in the European Union has been rapidly developing in recent years with a total area of 10.3 million hectares cultivated as organic in 2014 compared to 6.4 million hectares in 2005. This means an average yearly growth of 5.5% over a 10-year period. The organic area represented nearly 6% of the total utilised agricultural area in 2014. More information here.
High-level seminar in Sicily addresses alarming depletion of fish stocks in the Mediterranean
EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella participated in a high-level seminar addressing the long-term issue of the depletion of fish stocks in the Mediterranean Sea. Taking place on 9 and 10 February in Catania, in the Italian island of Sicily, the seminar is organised by the Commission and the Mediterranean Advisory Council. It brings together government ministers, delegations and stakeholders from all eight Mediterranean EU Member States. Opening the seminar Commissioner Vella stressed the leading role of the European Union. “The EU must lead the way by example. We need to face up to our responsibilities now, as policy makers, fishermen, scientists and civil society. I want to ensure that we all contribute to solutions.” The seminar is the starting point for the development of a new strategy for the Mediterranean. Once EU Member States have agreed on strong alignment and committed themselves to cooperate within the EU, the plan is to bring neighbouring countries on board within the international setting of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). Commissioner Vella‘s speech is available online and further information on DG MARE website.