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Catch up with what IFA has been working on in Brussels for the last week, 13-17th November. 

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Speaking at a high level COPA beef event in Brussels this evening attended by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and Agriculture Ministers from across the EU, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said there needs to be a much stronger and more robust defence of the European beef sector and family farm model of quality beef production with higher standards. “The beef sector is under constant attack from many areas and must fight back. This has to start with our political leaders”.

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Clearly the Glyphosate vote by MEPs in the European Parliament, although non-binding, was a setback. A phase out over 5 years is more restrictive than a reauthorisation for 5 years as is the Greens motion on a ban on pre-harvest usage. As envisaged, the standing committee vote of Member State Experts due to have taken place on Wednesday 25th October, was postponed until early November with the Commission likely to come back with an alternative proposal.

COPA Working Party on Breeding Livestock

Sirkku Heinimaa from DG Sante presented to the group on Gene editing and new breeding techniques. The format of Horse Certificates were referred to in relation to Animal Breeding Regulation. Gaps were identified in research and innovation regarding the efficient use of plants for sustainable animal breeding: use of plants for better composition of animals, better use of local protein sources and definition of new sustainable animal breeding goals. EU Animal Transport guides are being prepared for dissemination.

COPA Working Party on Feedingstuffs

Climate has affected feed supplies in many member states, half of Latvia suffering severe levels of rainfall while cereals and protein crops in Italy are suffering due to lack of rain since May in some regions. EU plan is to reduce reliance on protein imports and work on protein balance sheet is continuing. Re veterinary medicinal products, COPA is look to protect the role of the vet and defend minor uses. The new EU Action plan on AMR is the One Health approach (Animal Health, Human Health and the Environment). Italy seeking to reduce AMR by 30%.

Farming Association General Experts (POCC)

COPA will seek seat on Expert Group on Trade to be set up by Commission. Trade negotiations with Mexico are continuing with next round at end of November/beginning December with the Commission looking for full liberalisation on pigmeat (offal & fats) and a small TRQ on leg cuts. Re Mercosur, the Brazil Ambassador to EU said that EU offer is not enough to enter into meaningful negotiations. The Brexit effect on beef consumption in the EU is estimated at -16%.

On Food Chain – the Commission are to issue an impact assessment questionnaire to stakeholders to assess what extent members (farmers & COOPs) have faced UTPs.

Major changes are not expected to the Omnibus Regulation with the Agricultural elements having been agreed and a vote is due to take place within the European Parliament Agriculture Committee on the 9th November before it goes to Plenary.

Commissioner Hogan will launch the CAP Communication document at an extraordinary meeting of European Parliament Agriculture Committee on 29th November at 19.00h and will then address the COPA Praesidium on 30th November at 15.30h. Discussions are envisaged to centre on the evolution of Greening, mandatory capping, risk of renationalisation, performance based measures and generational renewal.

The Trade Investigation into Anti Dumping measures for Ammonium Nitrate from Russia has now requested interested parties (users) to reply to a questionnaire regarding their usage and the impact on their business of high price fertilisers, through their Associations. IFA is gathering data to complete the response to this request by 27th November.

COPA will hold a reception in Brussels promoting beef from Europe following the Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting on Monday November 6th. Irish beef will be cooked and promoted by Bord Bia along with beef from 4 other Member States at event which will be addressed by Commissioner Hogan.

Director of COPA, Mr. Arnaud Petit will take up a new role with the International Grain Council in London from 1st February 2018.
COPA Brexit Task Force Meeting

The TF50 team led by Bence Toth addressed the group and talked through the implications for Member States on 30th March 2019 from a customs and regulatory perspective. ‘A border is a border and there are customs formalities.’ In this regard the unique situation of Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement was recognised however ‘the integrity of the EU Member States cannot be put at risk’. The settlement commitments (RAL reste á liquider) are a key issue holding back progress to meaningful trade arrangement discussions.

During internal discussions on issues relating to tariffs and customs, IFA pointed out that it is premature for COPA to define recommendations or solutions at this point. IFA was represented by Elaine Farrell and Liam MacHale.

Passing of Damien Prevost – French Chambers of Agriculture (APCA)

The Brussels representative of the French Chambers of Agriculture Mr. Damien Prevost sadly passed away on 14th October at the age of 24. His funeral was held in his home town in Normandy on Friday 27th October and IFA were represented at the Funeral by Liam MacHale.

Up next

  • European Young Farmers (CEJA) Working Group meeting at COPA on Mon-Tues 30-31st Oct attended by Macra na Feirme
  • Public Holiday Wed 1st Nov (IFA office closed); European Institutions closed 1-2nd Nov

President Joe Healy and Liam MacHale, IFA Director of European Affairs travelled to Washington DC to attend the bi-annual EU-North America Agriculture Conference and availed of the opportunity to meet with representatives of the US Department of Agriculture, the Irish Agricultural Attache, the Irish Ambassador and the EU Representation in the US.

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Improved farmer crisis preparation tools in the future CAP was under discussion at the EU Agriculture Ministers informal Ag Council meeting in Tallinn at the beginning of last week.

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