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The European Commission adopted today the derogations on certain greening rules, which were proposed earlier this summer. This additional flexibility is aimed at increasing the availability of fodder, one of the main challenges that livestock farmers are facing due to the impact of drought​.

The Commission continues to monitor the situation very closely, on the basis of updated data provided by the Member States. The full picture of the impact of this exceptional weather will only be clear when more information on yields and markets is available later in the year.

The derogations adopted today relate to specific greening rules on winter crops and catch crops. Today’s decision also extends a previously granted derogation on land lying fallow to Belgium and France. These decisions apply retroactively and the concerned Member States were advised earlier in order that farmers could be informed swiftly that the rules would, exceptionally, not be applied this year.

The derogations granted are clear evidence of the Commission’s commitment to assist farmers affected by this exceptional weather event and to help prevent further problems associated with feed for livestock over the winter months.

The derogations apply to member states which requested it:

  • For the derogation on land lying fallow: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Finland and Sweden
  • For the derogation on catch crops and winter crops: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom in respect of England and Scotland

In addition to today’s adoption, the decision on advance payment is also in the process of being adopted and is expected to be finalised later in the month. This will allow payments to commence from 16 October.

The Commission welcomes the actions taken by several member states this summer that have complemented the measures taken at EU level, which demonstrates the value of taking a shared approach to issues of this nature. The Commission remains available to continue assisting member states in supporting farmers to the greatest possible extent, using all of the possibilities provided within the EU legal framework.

European Commission – Daily News available in full here

Press statement by Michel Barnier following the General Affairs Council (Article 50)

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our proposal for the backstop on Ireland and Northern Ireland has been on the table since February.

It is an insurance policy to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, whatever the future relationship will bring.

It reflects our agreement with the UK in December 2017, confirmed by Prime Minister Theresa May in her letter to President Tusk in March.

We are ready to improve this proposal.

Work on the EU side is ongoing:

  • We are clarifying which goods arriving into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK would need to be checked and where, when and by whom these checks could be performed.
  • We can also clarify that most checks can take place away from the border, at the company premises or in the market.
  • We need to de-dramatise the checks that are needed and that are caused by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, its Single Market and customs union.

What we need in the Withdrawal Agreement is a legally operational backstop, which fully respects the territorial integrity of the UK.

This backstop will only apply unless and until a better solution is found, in the context of our future relationship. Read statement in full here

Main results below (results in full here)

The Council, in EU27 format, was briefed by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on the state of play in the Brexit negotiations following the latest rounds of negotiation with the UK. Ministers had an opportunity to discuss the situation and the way forward.

There are still some important matters that need to be solved. However, we hope that in the next few weeks an agreement can be reached that guarantees an orderly Brexit, including of course an operational backstop for the border between Ireland and North-Ireland. There is still time left to find common ground to agree on a political declaration on future relations, with the UK as a close partner. On all these matters, ministers showed again today that even in these final stages of the negotiations, we remain committed to the unity of the EU 27.

Gernot Blümel, Austrian Federal Minister for the EU, Art, Culture and Media

The withdrawal agreement should be agreed in good time to be ratified by both parties before the withdrawal date of 29 March 2019. Negotiations on the framework for the future relationship should lead to an overall understanding which will be set out in a political declaration accompanying and referred to in the withdrawal agreement.

The Council took note of the agenda for October’s European Council (Article 50) meeting. EU27 ministers will continue the preparations of the October summit in their next meeting on 16 October 2018 in Luxembourg.


Commission presents comprehensive approach for the modernisation of the World Trade Organisation

The European Commission today put forward a first set of ideas to modernise the WTO and to make international trade rules fit for the challenges of the global economy. The concept paper published today sets out the direction of this modernisation effort in three key areas: updating of the WTO rule book, strengthening of the monitoring role of the WTO and overcoming of the imminent deadlock on the WTO dispute settlement system. It will be presented to EU partners in Geneva on 20 September during a meeting on that subject convened by Canada. Presenting the Commission’s concept paper, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “The WTO is indispensable in ensuring open, fair and rules-based trade. But despite its success, the World Trade Organisation has not been able to adapt sufficiently to the rapidly changing global economy. The world has changed, the WTO has not. It’s high time to act to make the system able to address challenges of the today’s global economy. And the EU must take a lead role in that.” The EU remains a staunch supporter of the multilateral trading system. For that reason, the European Council of 28-29 June 2018 gave the European Commission a mandate to pursue WTO modernisation to adapt it to a changing world, and to strengthen its effectiveness. The EU already started to engage with key WTO partners – e.g. with the US and Japan, in the framework of the trilateral discussions and with China, in the dedicated working group set up during the latest EU-China Summit, as well as with the members of the G20, last week – and will continue discussing these first ideas with various WTO partners in the coming weeks with a view to preparing concrete proposals to the WTO. For more information, see the full press release and the EU concept paper on WTO reform.


Full European Commission – Daily News can be found here

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