18 Jul 2016
RESULTS AGRICULTURE COUNCIL – 18 JULYBrussels Daily
Main results – read results in full here
The Presidency presented its work programme and priorities in the areas of agriculture and fisheries. One of the prominent priorities will be to strengthen the position of farmers in the supply chain and to increase transparency in the relations between different actors of the chain. This will feature as leading theme of the informal meeting of agriculture ministers, to take place in Bratislava on 11-13 September 2016.
Market situation and support measures
The Council was updated on the latest developments in the main agricultural sectors and on the state of implementation of previously agreed market support measures.
In response to the continued market downturn, and to the concerns strongly relayed by ministers, the Commission put forward a third package of support measures worth €500 million addressed mainly at the dairy sector, but also at the livestock sector. These measures are aimed at tackling the crisis by stabilising production and indirectly prices, and providing liquidity to farmers.
€150 million will be distributed through an EU-wide measure to those farmers who voluntarily decide to reduce their dairy deliveries, thereby helping the market restore the balance between demand and supply. Moreover, €350million will be rapidly made available through national financial envelopes to help producers face cash-flow problems. This aid will be conditional on the respect of certain commitments. Specific attention will be dedicated to small farmers. Member states will have maximum flexibility in the use of these funds to support vulnerable livestock sectors, and also be able to provide national top-ups up to 100%.
Other elements of the package include: a review of voluntary coupled support agreements for the dairy sector, an extension of public intervention and private storage for skimmed milk powder, early and increased advanced payments without the need to complete on-the-spot checks, and increased withdrawal prices for fruit and vegetables.
Ministers broadly supported the package presented by the Commission and some underlined the importance of sticking to the market orientation of the CAP and to address structural market imbalances in the medium to long term.
Ms Gabriela Matečná, Minister for agriculture and rural development of Slovakia and President of the Council, said: “Today is an important day. We have agreed on solutions to help European farmers face the continued deterioration of their lives due to market downturn and volatile prices. This package of support measures worth €500 million confirms the crucial importance of agriculture for the European economy and society at large, and fully rhymes with the market orientation of the CAP.”
International agricultural trade issues
The Council also discussed the issue of international free trade agreements and the potential impact of ongoing trade negotiations with third countries on European agriculture.
The EU has further expanded agricultural trade in recent months, confirming its position as the world’s leading trader, and is currently pursuing ambitious free trade agreements with major world players – countries and regions. Many ministers pointed out the need for balanced international agreements with regard to agriculture.
Greening and simplification
The Council was briefed by the Commission on the outcome of its review of the CAP greening provisions. Based on a public consultation, the review analyses the experience gained from the first year of implementation of greening in member states. It also outlines the next steps in the simplification of greening requirements.
In the subsequent debate ministers expressed their views on the actions proposed by the Commission, concerning mainly delegated and implementing acts, and reiterated the importance of a genuine simplification that reduces the administrative burden for both farmers and public administrations.
The presidency will convey the main messages on greening to the Commission in a letter summarising the key elements raised by member states.
Press conference here