EU - The Latvian Presidency gave a presentation to the Council of it work programme in the agriculture and fisheries sector. The council discussed the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the impact of the Russian ban on EU agricultural produce.
As regards agriculture, the President of the Council underlined the importance to the Presidency of organic farming. Minister Duklavs noted: "On the basis of the progress achieved by the previous Presidency, we plan to reach a general approach at the Council by the end of our Presidency".
He also said that "the simplification of the CAP is one of the main priorities of the Latvian presidency. We will ensure that the Council can send a clear message to the Commission on issues that still have to be simplified under the reformed CAP as regards direct payments, rural development and common market organisation".
Impact of the Russian Ban
The Council discussed market developments and in particular the impact on the EU market of import ban on EU agricultural product imposed by Russia in August 2014 (5397/15).
In response to the ban, the Commission triggered emergency market support measures for fruit, vegetables and dairy products, while also providing funds for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) promotion programmes.
While acknowledging the measures, the Member States expressed concerns they might prove insufficient to alleviate the consequences of the ban on the EU market. For the sectors concerned ministers called for more to be done by extending the scope of certain measures and diversifying the tools used.
The Bulgarian and the Romanian delegations mentioned the need for further measures in their own dairy sector which was only marginally covered by the emergency market measures on this sector (5522/15).
Some member states drew also the attention to the difficulties encountered by the pigmeat sector for which no market measures have so far been taken.
With regard to the relevant quantitative criteria for qualifying the situation on the market as a crisis situation, Member States expressed diverging views. Some of them insisted for example on the need to take into account a decrease of the farmers' profit margin in addition to the price of the product.
Some others highlighted that a crisis situation depends on the sector or the region and that only a case by case qualification can be envisaged.
The Commission pointed out that some emergency market measures have been already extended to mitigate the effect of the Russian ban in the coming months. For dairy products, it stressed the importance to obtain updated information from the Member States to monitor the market through the Milk Market Observatory and envisage an action if needed.
Concerning pig meat, the Commission indicated its readiness to evaluate the market situation and discuss about further measures if necessary at the next agriculture Council.
Furthermore several Member States supported the Polish delegation which recalled the importance of the EU solidarity in particular when discussing with the Russian authorities to resume the EU
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