11 Feb 2016
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 11 FEBRUARYBrussels Daily
European Commission and Mexico to start negotiations on the trade of organic products
The European Commission and the Government of Mexico announced today the start of negotiations towards a bilateral agreement on trade in organic products. Commissioner Hogan arrived in Mexico, where he met the Mexican Minister of Agriculture José Calzada, after an official visit in Colombia where an agreement on trade in organic products was also concluded. Phil Hogan said: “I very much welcome the start of negotiations with Mexico with a view to concluding an agreement on trade in organic products. The European organic sector continues to be one of our most dynamic production sectors and Mexico has great potential in developing opportunities for organic farmers and businesses.” The next steps in this dialogue will include, in the coming months, reciprocal on-the spot visits to learn more about the operation of the respective organic systems. A future agreement on trade in organic products will not only be based on the recognition of each other’s production rules and controls systems as equivalent, but will also aim at fostering technical dialogue and cooperation between the parties to the benefit of producers and consumers of organic products. The EU market for organic products amounts to some 40% of the world market – second only to the USA (43%). In recent years, the value of the EU market has grown by more than 6% a year with sales of organic products totalling some €22.2 billion in 2013. More information is available online here.
Preparation of the Eurogroup meeting and of the ECOFIN Council meeting
This afternoon, Vice-President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici will participate in the Eurogroup meeting. The Commission will present its 2016 Winter Economic Forecast, which was published on 4 February. Ministers will also discuss the economic and fiscal situation of Portugal, following the conclusion of the post-programme surveillance mission and after the Commission adopted last week its opinion on the Portuguese draft budgetary plan for 2016. The Commission, along with the other institutions, will give an update on the ongoing first review of Greece’s stability support programme. The Commission will also contribute to a discussion on the quality of public finances and on the use of the euro in global markets and countries outside the euro area. Commissioner Moscovici will represent the Commission at the press conference at the end of the meeting (streamed live on EbS). On Friday 12 February, Vice-President Georgieva, Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Hill will represent the Commission at the ECOFIN Council meeting. Ministers will exchange views on measures to prevent terrorist financing following the presentation of the Commission’s Action Plan in January. The Commission’s presentation of the recently launched Tax Avoidance Package is also on the agenda. The package aims to put in place a coordinated EU-wide response to corporate tax avoidance. Ministers will discuss the proposals and the timeline for the package. The Council will adopt a recommendation to the European Parliament on the discharge of the implementation of the EU budget for 2014. Ministers will also present their views on the EU budget 2017. The Chair of the High Level Group on Own Resources, Mario Monti, will update ministers on the group’s work.
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NEWS IN FULL