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Guides on the Consumer policy of the EU.
Extension of safety net measures for dairy, fruit and vegetables
Safety net measures for the European dairy, fruit and vegetables sectors will be extended into 2016. The European Commission says it is currently finalising the last details with a view to formally adopting the relevant legal decisions in the coming weeks as a matter of formality.
Transmissible animal diseases: informal deal
Measures to prevent and treat animal diseases such as avian flu or African swine fever were informally agreed by MEPs, the EU's Latvian Presidency and the European Commission on1 June. The draft EU law, on diseases that are transmissible among animals and potentially to humans too, will merge and update many scattered items of old legislation, so as to help prevent and halt new outbreaks and keep pace with scientific progress.
Rural Development Programmes boost to EU farming sector
The European Commission approved on 26 May a further 24 Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) aimed at improving the competitiveness of the EU farming sector, caring for the countryside and climate, and strengthening the economic and social fabric of rural communities in the period until 2020.
GMOs in the EU - review of decision-making process
The European Commission presented on 22 April the outcome of its review of the decision-making process for the authorisation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) as food and feed.
EU Commission policies on GMOs
The European Commission presented on 22 April the outcome of its review of the decision-making process for the authorisation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) as food and feed. This review derives from the Political Guidelines presented to the European Parliament in July 2014, on the basis of which this Commission was elected. The Commission says the review confirms the need for changes that reflect public views and allow national governments to have a greater say on the use of EU-authorised GMOs for animal (feed) or human (food) consumption. As a result of this review, the Commission proposes to amend the legislation to confer upon Member States more freedom to restrict, or prohibit the use of EU-authorised GMOs in food or feed on their territory.
New EU vine planting rules
New EU rules for a new scheme of authorisations for vine plantings, allowing for a yearly limited expansion in the EU's wine area, were published by the European Commission on 13 April.
End of milk quotas
The EU milk quota regime comes to an end on 31 March, 2015. First introduced in 1984 at a time when EU production far outstripped demand, the quota regime was one of the tools introduced for overcoming these structural surpluses. Successive reforms of the EU's Common Agriculture Policy have increased the market-orientation of the sector and, in parallel, provided a range of other, more targeted instruments to help support producers in vulnerable areas, such as mountain areas where the costs of production are higher. The final date to end quotas was first decided in 2003 in order to provide EU producers with more flexibility to respond to growing demand, especially on the world market. It was reconfirmed in 2008 with a range of measures aimed at achieving a "soft landing". Even with quotas, EU dairy exports have increased by 45% in volume and 95% in value in the last 5 years. Market projections indicate that the prospects for further growth remain strong - in particular for added-value products, such as cheese, but also for ingredients used in nutritional, sports and dietary products.
EUR 28m package for Baltic Milk Producers
The European Commission on 18 November confirmed its intention to adopt a EUR 28m support package for milk producers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This new package is the latest in a series adopted by the Commission in response to the Russian ban on the importation of certain EU agricultural products.
Avian Influenza in The Netherlands and the UK
The European Commission adopted on 17 November two emergency safeguard Decisions addressed to The Netherlands and the UK that define the areas that have been placed under stringent veterinary restrictions by those Member States, and where measures according to EU legislation are applied. The measures aim at quickly bringing the disease under control and at preventing the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza within the affected Member States, to other Member States and to third countries while minimising the disturbance to trade.
EUR 165m package for perishable fruit & vegetable market support
The European Commission adopted on 30 September a new programme for emergency market measures for perishable fruit & vegetables in the wake of the Russian ban on imports of certain EU agricultural products.
Veterinary medicines and medicated feed proposals
The European Commission adopted on 10 September proposals on veterinary medicines and medicated feed, with the aim of improving animal health and public health, as well as the internal market. The proposal on veterinary medicinal products aims in particular to make more medicines available in the EU to treat and prevent diseases in animals. The proposal on the modernisation of medicated feed legislation now includes feed for pets in its scope. The idea is to ensure the appropriate standard of product quality and safety in the EU, whilst at the same time paving the way for better treatments for diseased animals.
Potential impact of the Russian measures against EU agricultural products
On August 7, 2014, Russia announced the introduction of an import ban, applicable from August 8, on certain meat, dairy, fruit, vegetable and processed food products from the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and Norway. This guide addresses issues relating to these measures.
Commission proposals for new rules for organic farming
The European Commission has published new proposals for a new Regulation on organic production and the labelling of organic products. Consumer and producer concerns are at the heart of this new proposal, which seeks to address shortcomings of the current system. The EU organic market has quadrupled in size over the last 10 years and rules need to be updated and adjusted so that the sector can further develop and respond to future challenges.
Delegated acts of CAP reform: main elements
The European Commission adopted on 13 March the first package of delegated acts for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aiming at making the CAP fairer, greener and more targeted. These texts supplement the four basic acts adopted on 13 December 2013 by the European Parliament and the Council for the reform of the CAP - i) on Direct Payments, ii) the Common Market Organisation (CMO), iii) Rural Development and, iv) a Horizontal Regulation on the financing, management and monitoring of the CAP.
EU Strategy for the Welfare of Animals - mid-point review
The European Commission marks the mid-point of the EU Strategy for the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2012-2015 in Brussels on 12 February 2014. The event brought together key stakeholders to review the achievements of the strategy to date, and to identify remaining challenges. Government authorities, non-governmental organisations and those who work with animals every day discussed practical issues related to animal welfare and identify key areas for action to improve animal conditions for the strategy’s remaining term and beyond.
School Schemes for Fruit, Vegetables and Milk
The European Commission has published a proposal bringing together two currently separate school schemes, the School Fruit Scheme and the School Milk Scheme, under a joint framework. In a context of declining consumption among children for these products, the aim is to address poor nutrition more effectively, to reinforce the educational elements of the programmes and to contribute to fight against obesity. With the slogan "Eat well - feel good", this enhanced scheme from farm to school will put greater focus on educational measures to improve children's awareness of healthy eating habits, the range of farm produce available, as well as sustainability, environmental and food waste issues.
Commission proposals on animal cloning and novel food
The European Commission has today adopted three draft laws on animal cloning and on novel food which will provide legal certainty in this field. Two proposals will ban the use of the cloning technique in the EU for farm animals and the imports of these animal clones. The marketing of food from animal clones will also be prohibited. These proposals intend to address animal welfare and other ethical concerns related to the use of the technique. The draft law on novel food revises the existing Novel Food Regulation with a view to improving access of new and innovative food to the EU market, while still maintaining a high level of consumer protection.
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.