Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 28-29 June 2021
Infographic - The future of EU agricultural policy
Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy
The main item on the agenda for this month’s Council meeting was the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. The Portuguese presidency asked ministers to accept the provisional agreement on the main political issues reached with the European Parliament during inter-institutional negotiations on Thursday and Friday.
Following a discussion of some of the main points, including environmental measures and the social dimension of the CAP, ministers accepted the provisional deal reached with the Parliament on the three regulations that make up the CAP reform package. Further technical work will now be carried out to finalise the legal texts, following which MEPs will be invited to vote on the reform package. The reform will then enter into EU law upon its adoption by the Council.
Today we have agreed the most ambitious CAP to date. This is a good deal for farmers and for Europe, which will strengthen the European agri-food system, making it more sustainable and fairer for everyone. The agreement provides for a modernised CAP that supports the transition to greener and more climate-friendly farming, increases respect for social and labour rights, and ensures that farmers remain competitive without leaving anyone behind.
Maria do Céu Antunes, Portuguese Minister for Agriculture
Biological control agents
Ministers submitted a request to the Commission for a study on the situation in the EU regarding the introduction, evaluation, production, marketing and use of biological control agents. They also invited the Commission to put forward a proposal on possible measures if necessary in view of the result of the study.
Biological control agents (BCAs) are a sustainable form of plant pest control that can provide an alternative to the use of chemical products. Nevertheless, there are currently significant differences among member states in terms of their approach to the assessment, use and placing on the market of BCAs. A more harmonised EU framework could therefore increase the availability and guarantee the safe use of this form of pest control.
Setting a protection goal for honey bees
Ministers held an exchange of views on the need to set a Specific Protection Goal (SPG) for honey bees, based on the latest guidance from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) regarding the risk posed by pesticide use. In particular, they considered the Commission’s recommendation to set the maximum allowed reduction of bee colony sizes at 10%. Under the proposed SPG, member states would be required to take action if honey bee colonies were demonstrated to have lost more than 10% of their size due to pesticide use. The Commission also proposed that the same SPG apply to the whole of the EU. On the whole ministers agreed on the need to set an ambitious, EU-wide SPG to protect honey bees from pesticides. They also emphasised that the assessments needed to be based on scientific findings, as well as being feasible to implement.
Regulation on Fisheries Control
The Council adopted a general approach on the revision of the fisheries control system. The aim of this revision, proposed by the European Commission in May 2018, is to modernise the rules for monitoring fisheries activities, make them more efficient and effective, and ensure compliance with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and other EU policies. It is the first major revision of the EU’s fisheries control system since 2009. The adoption of the Council’s general approach paves the way for inter-institutional negotiations with the European Parliament.
Establishing a Council position on the fisheries control regulation has been a key priority for the Portuguese presidency, and we are very pleased with the result of today’s discussion. The proposed general approach will ensure that fisheries control can be modernised and simplified while also bringing it in line with EU fishing policy.
Ricardo Serrão Santos, Minister of the Sea of Portugal
Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): state of play and fishing opportunities for 2022
The Commission presented to ministers its annual communication on the state of play of the CFP and on fishing opportunities for 2022. This communication and the ensuing discussion was the first stage of a consultation process between member states, advisory councils, stakeholders and the public on fishing opportunities for 2022, which will run until 31 August 2021.
Any other business
Maritime Spatial Planning Directive
Ministers received information from the Commission on the implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, which came into force in September 2014. The directive applies to 22 member states with coastal regions, and the deadline for transposing it into national law was 31 March 2021. Ministers thanked the Commission for the information provided.
European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF)
Ministers received information from the Commission on the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) programming exercise, with a particular focus on maximising the added value of public investment in fisheries and aquaculture. The Commission noted that the fund could play a decisive role in supporting the European fisheries and aquaculture sectors, which are going through a challenging period as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Situation in the North East Atlantic
Ministers received information from the French, Irish and Spanish delegations about the current situation in the North East Atlantic as regards fishing relations with third countries in the region. In particular they discussed the consequences of Norway's decision to reduce the EU’s quota for cod in the Svalbard area, as well as the unilateral setting of quotas by Iceland and the Faroe Islands for mackerel in the North Sea.
Food supplements on the EU market
The presidency presented a report on the state of play of the rules applying to the placing of food supplements on the EU market, and put forward a number of potential option for improving the current situation. In particular, it referred to the need to update the definition of food supplements, further harmonise the conditions of access to the market, and increase awareness among consumers and professionals of the risks of inappropriate or excessive intake of these products. Following this presentation, member states held an exchange of views, with many expressing their support for the conclusions of the report.
Joint action on antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections (JAMRAI)
The Commission updated ministers on the state of play of the European Joint Action on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections (EU-JAMRAI) and outlined the next steps for this action. Following this presentation, a number of ministers took the floor to express support for the Commission’s proposal to harmonise provisions on antimicrobial resistance across all member states. The presidency concluded by emphasising the global aspect of the threat and the need to take action at international level.
Fur farming in the EU
Austria and the Netherlands presented to ministers a note signed by several other delegations on the issue of fur farming in the European Union. They called on the European Commission to undertake appropriate action to end fur farming in Europe, setting out their reasons for this request in terms of animal welfare, ethical considerations and the risks posed to public health. A number of ministers took the floor to express their support for this proposal.
29 June 2021
-11:45 Public session
Agenda highlights for 29 June
The Commission will provide ministers with information on the current situation of the agricultural market. An exchange of views will follow.
The European Commission will brief ministers about:
-antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections
-Extreme weather in Czechia
-statistics on agricultural inputs and outputs
-49th conference of EU paying agency directors
-28-29 June 2021