21 Apr 2015
RESULTS OF THE AGRICULTURE COUNCIL 20 APRILBrussels Daily
Main results of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council 20 April
Multiannual plan for the Baltic Sea The Council reached agreement on a general approach for a regulation establishing a multiannual plan for the stocks of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea. This management plan aims to ensure that Baltic fish stocks are exploited in a sustainable way on the basis of scientific advice. It proposes a new approach which takes into account environmental effects and biological interactions between those fish stocks. This plan will constitute a test case for a new generation of multiannual plans designed on the basis of principles jointly agreed between the Council and the European Parliament. Minister Jānis Dūklavs noted that: “The political agreement reached today in the Council will make possible the launch of negotiations with the European Parliament on this management plan in the coming weeks.
Council conclusions – EU position at the United Nations forum on forests
The Council adopted conclusions on the position to be taken by the EU and its member states at the 11th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) which will take place in New York from 4 to 15 May 2015 (7529/1/15 REV1).
Those conclusions stresses the importance of the sustainable management of forests and their multi- functionality to address major challenges such as climate change and deforestation. It provides also further elements on the post-2015 development goals in this area
In October 2000, the UNFF was established by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) as a subsidiary body with its main objective being to promote “… the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end…” on the basis of key milestones of international forest Policy.
The UNFF has universal membership, and is composed of all member states of the United Nations and specialised agencies.
European Investment Bank (EIB)
The European Commission presented to the ministers a model guarantee instrument for agriculture prepared in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB) (7964/15).
Several delegations supported the joint initiative of the Commission and the EIB aiming to facilitate the access to credit for rural initiatives.
The model instrument is intended to help ease access to finance for farmers and other rural businesses. Member states and regions can adapt and use the model to set up financial instruments funded by their rural development programmes under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) – to secure loans for investments in farm performance, processing and marketing, business start-ups and many other areas.
Indication of the country of origin for certain food products
The Council was briefed by the Commission on the state of play of two reports dealing with the mandatory indication of the country of origin of milk and dairy products and of certain types of meat, unprocessed food and single ingredients products.
The Commission explained that those reports were delayed but are finally expected to be made available in the coming weeks. Most of the member states welcomed this announcement and pointed out that the reports will provide a useful analysis of the implication of the mandatory indication of the country of origin. In this regard, some member states supported the principle of this indication in particular for milk and dairy products while others considered that the benefit of providing this additional information to the consumer should be balanced with the cost of the measures for the agri-food sectors concerned.
Regulation 1169/2011 on food information to consumers provides that in December last year, the Commission should have submitted to the European Parliament and to the Council two reports regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin on:
- types of meat other than beef, swine, sheep, goats and poultry, milk and milk used as ingredient in dairy products;
- unprocessed food, single-ingredient products and ingredients that represent more than 50% of a food
Other items adopted
The Council approved new rules aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. It adopted a regulation aimed at stimulating investment by creating a new form of fund vehicle, European long-term investment funds, or “ELTIFs”. It also adopted a regulation capping interchange fees for payments made with debit and credit cards.
The Council also adopted changes to the directive on the weights and dimensions of lorries and buses. The new rules will improve road safety and fuel efficiency.