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TRADE: Commission reports on progress in trade talks with Chile and Australia

As part of its transparency commitment, the Commission today published reports summarising the progress made during the latest negotiating rounds with Australia (25 to 29 March) and Chile (1 to 5 April). The third round of negotiations with Australia confirmed a shared commitment to achieve an ambitious and comprehensive agreement. The round covered discussions in almost all thematic groups and the negotiators started putting together parts of the text agreeable to both sides. The fourth negotiation round of talks with Australia is scheduled for July 2019. Fruitful discussions also took place during the lasts, fourth round of negotiations for the modernisation of the trade part of the EU-Chile Association Agreement. The negotiators made substantial progress in a significant number of chapters including on food safety and sanitary rules, technical obstacles in trade, good regulatory practices, customs, rules of origin, trade in commercial services, competition rules and rules supporting trade by smaller companies. EU proposals for sustainable development chapters in the future agreements with Australia and New Zealand are now also available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)

Short-term agricultural projections: a recovery in cereal production and a record of olive oil exports in 2019

With increased production and strong global demand, EU olive oil exports are expected to reach record levels in the 2018/2019 season, while EU cereal production is hard hit by the adverse weather conditions of last year, is recovering. Here are some of the conclusions of the latest report on short-term agricultural prospects published today by the European Commission. With regard to meat markets, pork prices are currently rising due to the more limited supply. The sector could also benefit from improved export prospects, particularly to China. Poultry production could increase by 2% in 2019 after a 5% increase in 2018, under favorable international conditions and higher prices. For the dairy sector, the expected production increases for 2019 are more moderate: 0.7% for milk and 0.8% for cheese, with an expected export expansion of 1%. The full report is available online. More information on the report available here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel .: +32 229 56185, Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)

Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here

EU-U.S. Joint Statement: the United States is Europe’s main soya beans supplier with imports up by 121%

New figures released by the European Commission today, show that imports of U.S. soya beans by the European Union increased by 121% over the current market year (July 2018 to mid-April 2019), compared to the same period in the previous year. With a share of 72% of EU soya beans imports, the U.S. is today Europe’s number one supplier. Conversely, Europe is the top destination of U.S. soya beans exports with 22%, followed by China (18%) and Mexico (9%). Increasing trade in a number of areas and products, including soya beans, was one of the Joint Statement‘s objectives, as agreed between Presidents Juncker and Trump on 25 July 2018. The European Commission is following up on its commitment and has been regularly publishing figures on EU imports of soya beans from the United States. Today marks the fifth update report on trade of soya beans with the U.S.  For full detail of the report please see a press release available 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

EU-U.S. Trade: Commission welcomes Council’s green light to start negotiations with the United States

The European Commission welcomes today’s decision by the Council to adopt the negotiating directives for trade talks with the United States, thus continuing to deliver on the implementation of the Joint Statement agreed by Presidents Juncker and Trump in July 2018. European Union Member States gave the Commission the green light to start formal negotiations with the U.S. on two agreements, one on conformity assessment, and the other on eliminating tariffs on industrial products. President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said: “The European Union is delivering on what President Trump and I have agreed on 25 July 2018. We want a win-win situation on trade, beneficial for both the EU and the U.S. Notably we want to slash tariffs on industrial products as this could lead to an additional increase in EU and U.S. exports worth around €26 billion. The European Union and the United States have one of the most important economic relationships in the world. We want to further strengthen trade between us based on the positive spirit of last July.” Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: “This is a welcome decision that will help ease trade tensions. We are now ready to start formal talks for these two targeted agreements that will bring tangible benefits for people and economies on both sides of the Atlantic. I am convinced that breaking down barriers to trade between us can be win-win”. The Council’s decision comes just three months after the European Commission had put forward the mandates and in line with the conclusions of the March European Council, during which EU leaders called for a “rapid implementation of all elements of the U.S.-EU Joint Statement of 25 July 2018“.In line with the directives agreed by EU governments, the Commission will now further examine the potential economic, environmental and social impacts of the agreement, taking into account the commitments of the EU in international agreements, including the Paris Agreement on climate change. An economic analysis undertaken by the European Commission already indicates that an EU-U.S. agreement on eliminating tariffs on industrial goods would increase EU exports to the U.S. by 8% and U.S. exports to the EU by 9% by 2033. For more information, see the full press release available online. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)

Commission announces two cooperation programmes with Jamaica, worth a total of over €20 million

Today, the European Commission announced two cooperation programmes to support Jamaica in addressing climate change and improving public governance, transparency, accountability and delivery of public services. The first programme (€16.5 million) will support Jamaica’s national forest management and conservation plan for 2016-2026 as well as support the sustainable management and utilisation of Jamaica’s forest resources. The second programme (€3.6 million) will assist Jamaica’s government improve public governance, transparency, accountability and public service delivery in Jamaica. During his ongoing visit to Jamaica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “With today’s cooperation programmes, we are supporting our Jamaican partners in two areas. First, in building up climate change resilience and protect precious forest resources as well as support biodiversity, while paying special attention to developing a low-emission and climate-resilient economy; and second in assisting the Government in building the necessary structures of a modern Integrated Financial Management System which will further improve public governance, transparency, accountability and delivery of public services.” (For more information: Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela – Tel.: +32 229 65322; Christina Wunder – Tel.: +32 229 92256; Xavier Cifre Quatresols – Tel.: +32 229 73582)

State aid: Commission approves €54 million support for a waste-to-energy highly efficient cogeneration plant in Poland

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Polish plans to support the construction of a highly efficient waste-to-energy cogeneration plant located in Olsztyn. The beneficiary of the aid is Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Energetyki Cieplnej Sp. z o.o. (“MPEC”), a municipally owned company. The project will be organised in the form of a public-private partnership between MPEC and a private partner selected by the beneficiary through a competitive procedure. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular the Commission’s 2014 Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy. The Commission found that the aid will contribute to the EU’s energy and environmental objectives without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market. In particular, cogeneration increases energy efficiency by recycling the heat from power generation for other uses (in this case, the public district heating), to the overall benefit of the environment. The new installation will also help reduce municipal waste disposal in landfills by incinerating approximately 100.000 tonnes of waste that is currently landfilled. More information will be available on the Commission competition website in the public case registerunder the case number SA.51614. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti – Tel.: +32 229 55344)

State aid: Commission approves Irish scheme for renewable heat generation

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, an Irish scheme to support the generation of heat from two renewable technologies: biomass and anaerobic digestion. The scheme is open to a wide range of heat users, namely commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating and other non-domestic heat users. Beneficiaries will receive operating aid in the form of a payment for the useful renewable heat generated over 15 years. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular the Commission’s 2014 Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy. It found that the scheme is proportionate as the payments granted to beneficiaries will not lead to overcompensation. The Commission concluded that the scheme will contribute to the EU’s energy and environmental objectives without unduly distorting competition. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the State Aid Register under the case number SA.50807. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Giulia Astuti – Tel.: +32 229 55344)

Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here

Publication of latest agri-food trade figures: record start in 2019 for EU agri-food trade

The value of EU agri-food exports in January 2019 increased for the 4th year in a row to reach a new record level of €11.2 billion, as shown in the latest monthly agri-food trade report published today. With agri-food imports to the EU also increasing to €10.8 billion, the monthly trade value topped €22 billion, compared to €21 billion in January 2018. Trade surplus increased to €0.4 billion, compared to €0.3 billion a year ago. On a year-on-year basis, the value of agri-food imports greatly increased from the USA (+14%). EU import values also went up for agri-food products coming from Russia, Ukraine, China, Tunisia and Pakistan. The main export destinations for EU products remain the USA followed by China, Switzerland, Japan and Russia. The monthly report provides a table presenting the trade balance and its development by product category from February 2017 to January 2019. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)

Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here

COLLEGE MEETING: ‘No-deal’ Brexit preparedness: European Commission takes stock of preparations and provides practical guidance to ensure coordinated EU approach

Ahead of the European Council (Article 50) today, the European Commission has taken stock of the European Union’s intense ‘no-deal’ preparations and has issued practical guidance to Member States in 5 areas: citizens’ residence and social security entitlements, data protection, medicine and medical devices, police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and fisheries. The aim of today’s guidance is to ensure the smooth practical implementation of EU and national contingency measures, if the United Kingdom were to leave the EU without a deal on 12 April, or at a later date, and to maintain a coordinated approach throughout any such ‘no-deal’ phase. A ‘no-deal’ withdrawal will cause disruption and is not desirable, but the EU is fully prepared for it. A press release and a series of factsheets are available online. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Daniel Ferrie – Tel.:+32 2 299 86500)

Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here


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