Brussels Daily
15 Nov 2016


Brussels Daily

Main results –  15 November  – see full results here

Report of the Agricultural Market Task Force

“Strengthening the position of farmers in the food supply chain is of vital importance to the Council and is one of the presidency´s political priorities. Today, ministers broadly welcomed the recommendations of the agricultural markets task force and the Presidency is committed to link this piece of work with the preparation of our Council conclusions at the December meeting.”

Gabriela Matečná,Minister for agriculture and rural development of Slovakia

Ministers were briefed by the Commission on the results of the work of the agricultural markets task force and its final recommendations.

The task force’s report includes a series of recommendations on how to improve the position of farmers in the food chain in relation to, among others: market transparency, risk management, trading practices, access to financial instruments and futures markets, contractual relations and competition. The report also addresses the problem of unfair trading practices and the possible introduction of European-wide baseline legislation to limit this phenomenon.

Ministers welcomed the report and expressed continued commitment to improve collaboration along the food supply chain and to strengthen the bargaining position of farmers. The issue will be discussed again at the December Agriculture and Fisheries Council with a view to defining the position of the Council on this matter.

Study on the impact of concessions in free trade agreements on agricultural products

The Commission presented to the Council the results of its economic study on the cumulative effects of concessions made in the context of free trade agreements on the EU agricultural sector.

The study covers 12 future trade agreements on the agri-food sector and their impact on producer prices and production volumes for a range of products accounting for 30% of the value of the EU exports in the sector. The results of the study highlight that significant gains can be anticipated for the EU dairy and pig meat sectors, but also show that there could be risks for the beef and rice sectors.

In the debate that followed the presentation, ministers expressed the need for balanced trade agreements that respect the vulnerabilities of some EU agricultural sectors.

The Presidency concluded that the Council intended to closely scrutinize the result of the study and would return to it at its Agriculture and Fisheries meeting in January 2017.

EU Agricultural Research and Innovation

The Council discussed the role of research and innovation for sustainable agriculture, focusing on how to widen the participation in agri-food research and bioeconomy and make it more balanced, as well as how to improve the implementation of the bioeconomy strategy, especially in low performing regions.

Ministers generally agreed on the importance of research and innovation in enhancing the competitiveness and sustainability of EU agriculture and highlighted the central role of bioeconomy and regions. Some also argued in favour of redressing any imbalances which might exist in the Horizon 2020 funding.

Main results – 14 November 2016


2017-2018 fishing opportunities for deep sea stocks

“With our decision today we made further progress towards the sustainable management of deep-sea stocks. Over the next two years some catches will have to be reduced to make sure that stocks are able to replenish and be exploited in a sustainable manner in the longer term. This is an essential investment in the health of our seas and the future of our fishermen”

Gabriela Matečná,Minister for agriculture and rural development of Slovakia

The Council reached a political agreement on the fishing opportunities for deep sea stocks for 2017 and 2018.

The unanimous agreement concerns the total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas for fish stocks such as: deep sea sharks, black scabbardfish, roundnose grenadier and roughhead grenadier, alfonsino, red seabream and greater forkbeard.

The agreement will apply as from 1 January 2017.

Multi-annual plan for demersal stocks in the North Sea

Ministers had an exchange of views on the Commission proposal establishing a multi-annual management plan for demersal stocks in the North Sea.

Member states generally welcomed the proposal and acknowledged the quality of the scientific work behind it. Some delegations expressed concerns about the complexity of the draft regulation. They underlined the importance of retaining some margin of discretion and flexibility, and not limiting it by setting targets stock by stock.

The objective of the proposal is to guarantee the sustainable exploitation of demersal stocks in the North Sea, by ensuring respect for the principles of maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and the ecosystem approach to fisheries management. The plan is also intended to address the issue of mixed fisheries.

Other topics on the agenda

Ministers discussed a number of other issues, including the implementation of the landing obligation and the issue of fisheries choke, the completion of action plans for EMFF specific ex-ante conditionalities, animal welfare, lumpy skin disease, endocrine disruptors and antimicrobial resistance.

Agenda highlights – 15 November 2016 (Agriculture)

On the second day, the Commission will present its study on the cumulative effects of trade agreements on the EU agricultural sector and the final report of the agricultural markets task force.

Ministers will also hold a policy debate on research and innovation in agriculture. Over a working lunch, ministers will discuss the Common Agricultural Policy post 2020.

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