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Guides on the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union.
New agricultural and agri-food product promotion policy
The European Commission has presented a draft reform of the information and promotion policy for European agricultural and food products. The new promotion policy, which benefits from a more substantial budget and will in future be supported by a European executive agency, is intended to act as key for opening up new markets. With the slogan 'Enjoy, it´s from Europe', the policy aims to help the sector's professionals break into international markets and make consumers more aware of the efforts made by European farmers to provide quality products, based on a genuine strategy established at European level.
EU policies on the cultivation and imports of GMOs
On the 26th September 2013, the General Court of the European Union delivered a ruling finding that the Commission failed to act on a GMO cultivation request which had been submitted twelve years ago in 2001. In line with this ruling, the Commission today acted by referring the cultivation request to the Council of Ministers. It is now up to the Ministers to take a position by qualified majority on this request. The European Food Safety Agency had already submitted a positive opinion on this request in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012, in all six positive opinions. This 2001 request falls under the "old" pre-Lisbon comitology procedure, which means that if the Council is not able to muster a qualified majority, either for or against the authorisation, then the Commission is obliged by law to grant the authorisation. In parallel, the Commission has requested a fresh debate in the Council of Ministers of its so-called "cultivation proposal" on which the European Parliament has already adopted its opinion which would allow Member States to restrict or prohibit cultivation of GMOs on their territory on grounds other than those relating to risks to health and the environment.
What future for our food system? - EU consults
The European Commission has put out a consultation asking for opinions about the European food production and consumption system. With some 89 million tons of food wasted every year in Europe, the consultation asks stakeholders, citizens, businesses, NGOs and public authorities for ideas on how to reduce food waste and, more generally, how to ensure our food system is using resources efficiently. The Commission says these will provide input for a Communication on Sustainable Food later this year.
Common agricultural policy reform after 2014 - main elements
More emphasis on environmental protection, mandatory top-ups for young farmers in all member states, stronger farmers' organisations and less red tape when spending EU funds. These are the main lines of the agreement on farm policy struck on Wednesday by the European Parliament, Council and the Commission. Decisions still need to be taken on capping direct payments to bigger farms and distributing funds between farmers.
Smarter rules for safer food
The European Commission has adopted a package of measures to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain. Food safety is essential to ensure consumers' confidence and sustainability of food production. The Commission says the package of measures provides a modernised and simplified, more risked-based approach to the protection of health and more efficient control tools to ensure the effective application of the rules guiding the operation of the food chain. The package is a response to calls for better simplification of legislation and smarter regulation thus reducing administrative burden for operators and simplifying the regulatory environment. Special consideration is given to the impact of this legislation on SMEs and micro enterprises which are exempted from the most costly and burdensome elements in the legislation. The current body of EU legislation covering the food chain consists of almost 70 pieces of legislation. Today's package of reform will cut this down to 5 pieces of legislation and will also reduce the red-tape on processes and procedures for farmers, breeders and food business operators (producers, processors and distributors) to make it easier for them to carry out their profession.
Value of production of agricultural products and foodstuffs, wines, aromatised wines and spirits protected by a geographical indication (GI)
This study, financed by the European Commission, was carried out by AND International. The conclusions, recommendations and opinions presented in this report reflect the opinion of the consultant and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Commission.
EUR 414m CAP expenditure claw-back
A total of €414 million of EU agricultural policy funds unduly spent by EU Member States is being claimed back by the European Commission under the 'clearance of accounts procedure'. Member States are responsible for paying out and checking expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds. This money returns to the EU budget because of non-compliance with EU rules or inadequate control procedures on agricultural expenditure. Formally speaking, because some of these amounts have already been recovered from the Member States the net financial impact of today's decision will be some EUR 393 million.
EU farm subsidies: Commission proposals to increase aid transparency
The European Commission has adopted a proposal designed to apply new rules with regard to the publication of information on the beneficiaries of European agricultural funds. This legislative review has been prompted by a 2010 judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) which invalidated part of Commission Regulation (EC) 259/2008, particularly as regards the publication of information on individual beneficiaries of the agricultural funds. Today’s proposal takes into account the legal constraints inherent to the protection of personal data by setting certain limits upon the publication of individual names and by asking Member States to publish more detailed information, particularly on the type of aid and the description of the measures for which the funds have been allocated.
Food quality labels: faster delivery, better protection, clearer information
The time it takes to obtain an EU quality label for farm produce from a given geographical area, or produced in a traditional way, could be halved by a regulation endorsed by Parliament on 13 September. The new rules, agreed by EP Agriculture Committee MEPs and Council negotiators in June, would also introduce a new label for "mountain" products. Labels for island produce and farm gate sales may follow soon.
Organic Wine rules - guide
New EU rules for “organic wine” have been agreed in the Standing Committee on Organic Farming (SCOF), and will be published in the Official Journal in the coming weeks. With the new regulation, which will apply from the 2012 harvest, organic wine growers will be allowed to use the term “organic wine” on their labels. The labels must also show the EU-organic-logo and the code number of their certifier, and must respect other wine labelling rules. Although there are already rules for “wine made from organic grapes”, these do not cover wine-making practices, i.e. the whole process from grape to wine. Wine is the one remaining sector not fully covered by the EU rules on organic farming standards under Regulation 834/2007.
Animal Welfare Strategy 2012-2015 - guide
The European Commission has adopted a new four-year strategy (2012-2015) that aims to further improve the welfare of animals in the European Union.
Plant health pests and EU funding programmes to deal with them - guide
The European Union today earmarked 19 million euros to co-finance programmes in seven Member States aiming to combat organisms harmful to plants and to prevent them from spreading further in the Union and thus from having sever consequences on the internal market. During a meeting of the Standing Committee on Plant Health (SCPH), the Member States endorsed two Commission proposals providing the co-financing (EUR 15 and EUR 4 million respectively) of actions already undertaken in the past or planned to be executed next year.
Report documents growing importance of the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed
The European Union's system for quick exchange of information on risks linked to food and feed - an invaluable tool especially at times of crisis - has further grown in importance during 2010, the system's annual report reveals.
"Agenda for Change" in EU development policy and EU budget support - guide
The EU will re-prioritise its delivery of aid to developing countries to ensure maximum impact on poverty reduction. EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs has presented the 'Agenda for Change' of EU Development policy and a new policy for EU budget support. These communications set out a more strategic EU approach to reducing poverty, including through a more targeted allocation of funding. Future EU spending should concentrate on sectors which are key for long-term and inclusive growth, target countries that are in the greatest need of external support and where aid can make a difference.
CAP Reform - the main elements
The Commission has today published proposals for Four basic Council regulations for the Common Agriculture Policy – i) on Direct Payments, ii) the Single Common Market Organisation (CMO), iii) Rural Development and, iv) a Horizontal Regulation for financing, managing and monitoring the CAP. In addition, there are 3 smaller regulations to address transition arrangements to the new rules. The package also contains an Explanatory Memorandum; Citizens Summary, and Annexes linked with different aspects of the Impact Assessment.
Commission Communication on the future of the CAP - guide
The European Commission adopted on 18 November 2010 a Communication on the future of the CAP entitled "The CAP towards 2020: Meeting the food, natural resources and territorial challenges of the future". This document marks the beginning of a consultation process which will continue until next spring and which will enable the Commission to prepare legislative proposals by summer 2011. The reformed CAP should enter into force on 1 January 2014.
Cloning - guide
The European Commission has announced that it will propose a temporary suspension of animal cloning for food production in the EU. The Commission also plans to suspend temporarily the use of cloned farm animals and the marketing of food from clones. All temporary measures will be reviewed after five years. The establishment of a traceability system for imports of reproductive materials for clones, such as semen and embryos of clones is also envisaged. The system will allow farmers and industry to set up database with the animals that would emerge from these reproductive materials.
Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) - briefing
The European Commission has adopted a €190 million support package for banana exporters from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. This proposal was part of the historic Geneva Agreement on Trade in Bananas. The EU concluded this deal with Latin American countries and the US in December 2009 which settles 15 years banana disputes. It also cuts the tariff which the EU applies to bananas imported from Latin American countries. Today's measures aim to support ACP banana exporters to adjust to this new trading environment, taking into account each country's specific situation. The measures will focus on three goals: boosting the banana sector's competitiveness, promoting economic diversification and addressing broader social, economic and environmental impacts.
Key facts about bird flu (Avian Influenza)
The European Commission adopted today a decision confirming the risk areas set up by the Romanian authorities in relation to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a backyard poultry farm located in the commune of Letea, in Tulcea county, at the Danube's delta close to the Ukrainian border.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) - briefing
The European Commission has announced its intention to come up with a proposal by the summer to allow more choice to Member States in deciding whether to cultivate GMOs. Under the current legal framework, as decided by the Council and the European Parliament, the Commission has adopted two decisions concerning the Genetically Modified Amflora potato: the first authorises the cultivation of Amflora in the EU for industrial use, and the second relates to the use of Amflora's starch by-products as feed. The European Commission also adopted today three decisions on the placing on the market of three GM maize products for food and feed uses but not for cultivation. All five authorisations were subjected to the highest scrutiny, ensuring all concerns regarding the presence of an antibiotic resistance marker gene are fully addressed. The Decision to authorise the cultivation of Amflora is the end of a process which started in Sweden in January 2003 and is based on a considerable volume of sound science.