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Guides on the Consumer policy of the EU.
Green Paper on Agricultural Product Quality
The aim of this consultation is to ensure a strategic and regulatory framework for the protection of agricultural products and to promote their quality. In this respect, the European Commission intends to open a wide discussion on the existing instruments, on how they could be improved and on new initiatives which could be considered. Three areas are being reviewed: farming requirements and marketing standards, existing quality schemes and certification schemes.
Common Organisation of Agricultural Markets
The common organisation of agricultural markets in the European Union provides a single legal framework governing the domestic market, trade with third countries and rules regarding competition.
Animal welfare labelling: EC report launches in-depth political debate
The European Commission has adopted a report in which it outlines a series of options for animal welfare labelling, to facilitate an in-depth political debate with the other institutions. The overall goal of policy in this area is to make it easier for consumers to identify and choose welfare-friendly products, and thereby give an economic incentive to producers to improve the welfare of animals. The report also presents options for the possible establishment of a European Network of Reference Centres for the protection and welfare of animals. Such a network, modelled on the existing Community Reference Laboratories for animal health, could provide technical support for the development and implementation of animal welfare policies, including regarding certification and labelling. The document, based on an external study and a broad stakeholder consultation, is the Commission's response to the conclusions of the May 2007 Agriculture Council which called for a report that would allow an in-depth debate on animal welfare labelling. Although the report does not endorse any of the options outlined, it identifies those which are considered to be the most feasible today. Harmonised requirements for voluntary animal welfare claims, for example, constitute one such option to support transparent information to consumers. Another is a voluntary Community Animal Welfare Label open for all to use, provided they meet the criteria.
Special Report: Have the management instruments applied to the market in milk and milk products achieved their main objectives?
Milk production is of major importance in the European Union’s agricultural economy. More than one million producers supply 148 million tonnes of milk annually with an approximate value of EUR 41,000 million at the farm gate. The milk processing sector (producing mainly cheese, butter and drinking milk) employs around 400 000 people and generates a turnover of EUR 120,000 million. In this Special Report the European Court of Auditors reviews how effectively the European Commission has managed the market for milk and milk products since the introduction of milk quotas in 1984, with reference to the main objectives of EU dairy policy. The Court also highlights the most critical issues to be considered in the progressive deregulation of the milk sector, which was started in 2003.
Policy Coherence for Development
When exploring ways to accelerate progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the European Union (EU) considers how non-aid policies can assist developing countries in attaining the MDGs. The EU activity in this field is not only a key political commitment in the context of the MDGs, but also has a firm legal basis in the Treaty establishing the European Community (Article 178).
Agriculture and Fisheries Council
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council is, together with the General Affairs and External Relations Council and the Ecofin Council, one of the Council's oldest configurations. It brings together once a month the Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries and the European Commissioners responsible for agriculture and rural development, fisheries and maritime affairs, as well as consumer health and protection.
European Union food aid for deprived persons - European Court of Auditors report
Information note of the European Court of Auditors concerning Special Report No 6/2009 - European Union food aid for deprived persons: an assessment of the objectives, the means and the methods employed.
Agriculture
Europe's agricultural sector, and the behaviour of farmers and associations of farmers - such as cooperatives - is subject to the competition rules of the European Union.
CAP Reform: Final stage of EU wine reform enters into force
The final stage of the European Union wine reform, agreed by agriculture ministers in December 2007, entered into force on 1st August. The wide-ranging reform, the first stage of which applied from 1st August last year, should bring balance to the wine market, phase out wasteful and expensive market intervention measures and allow the budget to be used for more positive, proactive measures which will boost the competitiveness of European wines. The reform provides for a fast restructuring of the wine sector. It includes a voluntary, three-year grubbing-up scheme to provide an alternative for uncompetitive producers and to remove surplus wine from the market. Subsidies for crisis distillation and potable alcohol distillation will be phased out and the money, allocated in national envelopes, can be used for measures like wine promotion on third country markets, restructuring and investment in modernisation of vineyards and cellars. The reform will contribute to environmental protection in wine-growing regions, safeguard traditional and well-established quality policies and simplify labelling rules, for the benefit of producers and consumers alike. The restrictive planting rights system will also be abolished at EU level from 1 January 2016 onwards, with the possibility for EU Member States to keep it until December 2018 if they so wish.
Mission statement: Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development
The mission of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development is to promote the sustainable development of Europe's agriculture and to ensure the well-being of its rural areas.
EU Agriculture Contacts
 
EU agricultural product quality logos
Agricultural products produced in the European Union reflect the rich diversity of different traditions and regions in Europe. To help protect and promote products with particular characteristics linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional products, the EU created quality logos, named "Protected Designation of Origin", "Protected Geographical Indication" and "Traditional Speciality Guaranteed".
EU agriculture and the environment
Environmental concerns play a vital role in the EU's Common Agricultural Policy which deals both with the integration of environmental considerations into CAP rules and with the development of agricultural practices preserving the environment and safeguarding the countryside.
CAP Policies: State Aid
The maintenance of a system of free and undistorted competition is one of the basic principles of the European Union. Community policy in respect of State aids seeks to ensure free competition, an efficient allocation of resources and the unity of the Community market, whilst respecting the international commitments of the EU.
Rural Development Policy 2007-2013
With over 56 % of the population in the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU) living in rural areas, which cover 91 % of the territory, rural development is a vitally important policy area. Farming and forestry remain crucial for land use and the management of natural resources in the EU's rural areas, and as a platform for economic diversification in rural communities. The strengthening of EU rural development policy is, therefore, an overall EU priority.
CAP Policies: Direct Payments
The 2003 reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) introduced a new system of direct payments , known as the single payment scheme, under which aid is no longer linked to production (decoupling). The new system of direct payments introduced in 2005-2006 is the single payment scheme (SPS), the most important system of direct payments.
EU Funding: the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
This factsheet focuses on the EU funds available to site managers under the rural development programmes of the CAP.
EU - US provisional agreement in beef dispute - briefing
Today the European Commission and the United States agreed in principle on a way forward in the long-running dispute over hormone-treated beef.
Human swine influenza A(H1N1) - briefing
Swine influenza (swine flu) is an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract in pigs caused by type A influenza virus. The mortality rate is low in pigs and recovery usually occurs within 7-10 days. Swine origin influenza viruses also occur in wild birds, poultry, horses and humans, but interspecies transmission is considered a rare event. So far three influenza type A virus subtypes: H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2 have been found in pigs.
EU 1 billion euro "Food Facility" for developing countries - briefing
The European Commission adopted on 30 March a EUR 314 million package of projects to support agriculture and improve the food security situation in 23 developing countries across the globe. This is the first financing decision in the framework of the EUR 1 billion Food Facility which was adopted at the end of last year as a response to the growing food security problems faced by many developing countries. The Commission also agreed to an overall plan for the use of the entire amount of the Facility, targeting 50 developing countries in total.