Eurogroup and ECOFIN meetings, 8 and 9 July 2019
Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger and Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will represent the Commission at today’s Eurogroup and tomorrow’s ECOFIN meetings. Ministers will discuss the budgetary situation in the euro area as a whole, with presentations by the Commission based on its Spring Semester packageand by the European Fiscal Board on its recently published report. Eurogroup ministers will also discuss the third enhanced surveillance report on Greece and will be debriefed on the main findings of the eleventh post-programme surveillance mission to Spain. Ministers will take stock of the outcome of the Commission’s sectoral consultations and the latest economic analysis from the ECB regarding the international role of the euro. They will also be informed of the Commission’s conclusion in the context of the spring 2019 round of fiscal surveillance for Italy. Ministers will then continue in an inclusive format to follow up on the Euro Summit of June 2019. Leaders invited the Eurogroup in inclusive format to continue working on all the elements of the package on the strengthening of the EMU, as set out in the letter of the President of the Eurogroup of 15 June 2019. Commissioner Pierre Moscovici will participate in the press conference following the meeting. At the ECOFIN meeting tomorrow, the Finnish Council Presidency will present its work programme on economic and financial matters. Ministers will hold a discussion with Commissioner Oettinger on the EU’s own resourcesand new sources of financing in view of the multiannual financial framework package for 2021-2027. The Council will adopt the country-specific recommendations which conclude the European Semester for 2019. Vice-President Dombrovskis will participate in the press conference following the meeting. (For more information: Annika Breidthardt – Tel.: +32 229-56153; Vanessa Mock –Tel.: +32 229 56194; Annikky Lamp – Tel.: +32 229 56151; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183; Guillaume Mercier +32 229 80564)
Commissioner Jourová on official visit to Chile and Argentina
Commissioner Jourová will be in Chile today and tomorrow, as well as in Argentina on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 July. The visit follows the conclusion of the EU-Mercosur trade agreement and will focus on improving cooperation on data flows, advocating for strong convergence of data protection regimes, advancing bilateral judicial cooperation and discussing the issues of gender equality and antisemitism, among others. In Chile, Commissioner Jourová will meet the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Hernán Larraín Fernández, the Minister of Finance, Felipe Larraín Bascuñán, the Minister of Women and Gender Equality, Isabel Plá Jarufe, as well as the ViceMinister of Trade, Rodrigo Yañez. Data protection and gender equality will be on the agenda of the meeting with Chilean Senators Felipe Harboe Bascuñán, Jaime Quintana,Adriana Muñoz and Kenneth Pugh. She will also discuss data protection with the representatives of Chilean and European trade associations and companies. Commissioner Jourová will then exchange views withthe Chilean Transparency Council. Finally, she will deliver a keynote Speech at the University of Chile on the Challenges and Opportunities in the Digital Era. Then in Buenos Aires, the visit includes exchanges with theMinister of Justice and Human Rights, German Garavano, with the President of the Senate, Federico Pinedo, the Chief of Staff of the Argentinian President, in charge of, among others, data protection topics, Marcos Pena, as well as with Senators Dalmacio Mera and Laura Rodríguez Machado. Commissioner Jourová will then meet with members of the Chamber of Deputies, Karina Banfi and Ezequiel Langan.She will then commemorate with the Argentinian Jewish community, and representatives of Christian and Muslim faiths, the 1994 bombing at the Jewish Community Center.Finally, she will deliver a keynote speech on the benefits of aligning data protection standards at the Privacy in a Globalised World conference. The event is organised under the framework of the “International Digital Cooperation – Enhanced Data Protection and Data Flows”project funded under the European Commission’s Partnership Instrument. (For more information: Christian Wigand + 32 229 62 253 Melanie Voin + 32 229 58659)
Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here
04 07 2019
04 07 2019
DG AGRI Short-term outlook: EU exports expected to continue growing overall, pork production remains stableBrussels, Brussels Daily
EU exports of pork, beef, olive oil and dairy products are expected to continue increasing in 2019. Pork exports are especially driven by Chinese demand, while production is expected to stabilise. These are among the main findings of the latest short-term outlook report for EU agricultural markets, published on 3 July 2019 by the European Commission.
For 2019/2020, cereal production is expected to recover from last year’s low and reach 311 million tonnes, if good weather conditions sustain. Wheat production should increase by 11% and get to 142 million tonnes. Barley and maize production should respectively grow by 7% and 0.5%, reaching 60 million tonnes and 69 million tonnes.
EU exports of olive oil jumped in 2018/2019 thanks to an increase in production of 4%. As for 2019/2020, weather conditions are expected to support production recovery in Italy and Greece and sustain the increasing production trend in Portugal. However, in Spain, water limitations as well as the interannual alternance of olive trees could result in a drop in production below the 5-year average.
Production of peaches and nectarines could reach around 4.1 million tonnes in 2019, an increase of 4% compared to 2018, thanks to favourable weather conditions. However due to heavy rains and hail in some regions, it will not reach the record levels of 2017. This increase will contribute to a recovery of EU exports, which dropped by 38% in 2018.
As for the sugar sector, for 2019/2020, the sugar beet area is estimated to decrease by 4%, bringing it to 1.67 million hectares. Still, under the assumption of a yield close to average, production is expected to reach 18.3 million tonnes, an increase of 4% compared to last year. For the current 2018/2019 campaign, sugar imports are forecasted at the same levels as EU exports, at 1.7 million tonnes, balancing out the EU sugar trade.
The dairy sector sees sustained demand for EU dairy products, which should lead to an EU milk production growth of 1% in 2019. In addition, global demand for skimmed milk powder is high. EU public stocks are now empty and private stocks are expected back to low levels at the end of the year.
Furthermore, beef production is expected to decline by 1.2% in 2019 due to a reduction in cow herds and a low number of store cattle. This is mainly due exceptional high slaughterings in 2018 due to feed shortage. However, exports should increase by 15%, in the same period.
Poultry production will keep on growing in the EU in 2019, increasing by 2.5% after already a strong production growth in 2018. This sustained increased is thanks to good demand and high prices.
Demand for pigmeat should lead to an increase of 12% of EU exports in 2019. This growth in demand is especially coming from China due to the spread of African Swine Fever in the country. Production will nonetheless remain stable in the same period, due to a reduced breeding herd and environmental restrictions. In 2020, EU production is expected to grow around 1.4%.
EU and Mercosur reach agreement on trade
The European Union and Mercosur – a bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – reached a political agreement for an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive trade agreement on Friday 28 June. The new trade framework – part of a wider Association Agreement between the two regions – will consolidate a strategic political and economic partnership and create significant opportunities for sustainable growth on both sides, while respecting the environment and preserving interests of EU consumers and sensitive economic sectors. President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said: “I measure my words carefully when I say that this is a historical moment. In the midst of international trade tensions, we are sending today a strong signal with our Mercosur partners that we stand for rules-based trade. Through this trade pact, Mercosur countries have decided to open up their markets to the EU. This is obviously great news for companies, workers and the economy on both sides of the Atlantic, saving over €4 billion worth of duties per year. This makes it the largest trade agreement the EU has ever concluded. Thanks to the hard and patient work of our negotiators, this is matched with positive outcomes for the environment and consumers. And that’s what makes this agreement a win-win deal.” The agreement upholds the highest standards of food safety and consumer protection, as well as the precautionary principle and contains specific commitments on labour rights and environmental protection, including the implementation of the Paris climate agreement. For more information see the press release, MEMO, factsheets and exporter stories. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)
EU signed trade and investment protection agreements with Vietnam
The representatives of the European Union – Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and Minister Ștefan-Radu Oprea, on behalf of the Romanian Presidency of the Council – signed yesterday in Hanoi the EU-Vietnam trade and investment protection agreements. These most ambitious agreements concluded by the EU with a developing country mark a milestone in our partnership with Vietnam. They will promote further economic development and reinforce trade and investment ties between Vietnam and the European Union. The agreements also further reinforce the EU’s engagement with the Southeast Asian region. Following the signature, the agreements will now be presented on the Vietnamese side to the National Assembly and, on the EU side, to the European Parliament, for their consent. A joint statement published on the occasion of the signature is available online. For more information about the agreement, see a dedicated webpage online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)
Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here
28 06 2019
Reacting to the outcome of the trade talks with the South American trade bloc Mercosur, IFA President Joe Healy said EU negotiators have colluded in a deal that has sold out Irish and European farmers.
Joe Healy said “This is a bad deal for Ireland and for Irish farmers, it’s a bad deal for the environment and it’s a bad deal for EU standards and consumers.”
The IFA President called on the Taoiseach make it clear to Brussels that Ireland will not ratify this deal.
“While Commissioner Hogan has done much good work, when he looks back on his five-year term, he will have to consider this Commission sell-out as a low point. The ‘turning a blind eye’ approach to double standards and environmental degradation in Brazil is indefensible. It makes an utter mockery of the pledge that this EU Commission signed when it took up office in 2014 to uphold EU legislation,” he said.
“This deal represents a backroom deal with big business and kowtows to the likes of Mercedes and BMW in their drive to get cars into South America. It is a disgraceful and feeble sell out of a large part of our most valuable beef market to Latin American ranchers and factory farm units,” he said.
“Irish and European farmers adhere to the highest standards on traceability, animal welfare, food safety and the environment. Farmers in Brazil do not. Yet our Government and the EU Commission waved the white flag and disregarded what consumers expect from their farmers.”
IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods pointed that our €3bn beef sector is much more important to Ireland than any other EU member state and we cannot allow our vital national interest in beef to be ruined by Brazilian beef imports.
Angus Woods said Ireland cannot allow the EU Commission inflict such damage on the EU beef market without consequences. He said the EU Commission Joint Research Centre has calculated the impact of trade deals on the EU beef sector including Mercosur would cost be up to €7bn pa.