17 Jul 2015
LUXEMBOURG PRESIDENCY PRIORITIES – 17 JULYBrussels Daily
Luxembourg Presidency priorities discussed by European Parliament Committees. Read all about it here
Agriculture and rural development
Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) would be one of the Luxembourg Presidency’s top priorities, the agriculture minister, Fernand Etgen, told the agriculture committee on Thursday. The Presidency would seek to launch negotiations with Parliament on protective measures against plant pests, the medicated feed proposal and the organic farming reform and to advance work on the revision of the EU’s school fruit and vegetable and milk schemes. It was also “firmly committed”, Mr Etgen said, to “help the most affected sectors” hit by the recently extended Russian embargo on EU foodstuffs and to monitor the situation on the EU’s milk and sugar markets in view of the end of quotas and falling prices for both commodities.
Members of the agriculture committee strongly urged Mr Etgen to push for quicker, meaningful measures to stabilise the market and help sectors that are facing major difficulties. They also want the Presidency to advance work on plant health legislation and on the revamp of the school schemes.
Guided by the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the Presidency intends to focus on implementing the new rules in three key areas: the annual setting of sustainable fishing quotas for 2016, sharing and simplifying scientific data on fish stocks and achieving progress on multiannual management plans, especially for the Baltic Sea, minister for agriculture, viticulture and consumer protection Fernand Etgen told the Fisheries Committee on Wednesday. He added that the Presidency also intends to make progress on the deep-sea trawling regulation, on which the Council has yet to agree a common position.
MEPs reminded Mr Etgen that they will insist on their full co-decision powers when negotiating the multiannual management plans, which are crucial to implementing the new CFP. They also stressed that more money is needed to improve data collection and management, and several asked for better protection of small-scale fisheries and additional efforts to combat illegal fishing.
Shaping a reformed mechanism to settle investor -state disputes, on the lines indicated by the resolution approved by Parliament on 8 July, will be a Presidency priority in talks with the US on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), foreign and European affairs minister Jean Asselborn told the International Trade Committee. Mr Asselborn, also promised Trade MEPs that the agreement already concluded with Canada (CETA) will not reintroduce the “old ISDS” via the back door and reported that talks were already under way between Canada and EU member state ministers on ways to include courts, judges, public hearings and appellate system in the mechanism.
Concluding a trade deal with Vietnam, more progress with Japan, launching trade talks with Tunisia and re-launching those with India were also on his “to do” list.