Agriculture and Fisheries Council configuration (AGRIFISH)
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council adopts legislation in a number of areas relating to the production of food, rural development and the management of fisheries.
How does the Agriculture and Fisheries Council work?
The AGRIFISH Council brings together ministers from each EU member state. Most member states are represented by a single minister for both sectors, although some send two ministers - one for agriculture and another for fisheries.
The European Commissioner for agriculture and rural development or the European Commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries also take part in meetings.
Meetings usually take place once a month.
About agriculture and fisheries policy
The Council adopts legislation, in most cases together with the European Parliament, in a number of areas relating to the production of food, rural development and the management of fisheries.
Areas under agricultural policy include the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), rules on the internal market for agriculture, forestry, organic production, quality of production and food and animal feed safety. Measures relating to CAP aim to increase agricultural productivity, ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, stabilise markets, assure the availability of supplies and ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.
The Council also adopts legislation on fisheries policy, the setting of annual Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas for each species, and on the allocation of fishing opportunities. A key challenge is to make fisheries more environmentally sustainable and more economically viable, while addressing issues such as over-fishing and fleet overcapacity.
Priorities of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council during the Estonian presidency
In the field of agriculture, the main topic of the Estonian presidency is the future of the Common Agricultural Policy(CAP). The presidency will emphasise the simplification of the CAP, largely in the context of the Omnibus Regulation.
The presidency also aims to:
- ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of EU agriculture
- strengthen the producers' position in the food supply chain
- contribute to the combating of antimicrobial resistance
- prioritise contingency planning in the field of plant health
Particular attention will also be given to the sustainable use of agricultural soils. A high-level conference 'Soils for sustainable food production and ecosystem services' is due to take place in October in Tallinn.
The Estonian presidency strives towards an open trade policy and trade agreements and will prepare and achieve approval for the EU positions in international organisations.
The presidency will also promote discussions on how to implement digital solutions for effective control measures. A conference to discuss the Integrated Information Management System for Official Controls (IMSOC) will be organised in cooperation with the European Commission.
For fisheries the Estonian presidency prioritises the quota regulations, as they must be adopted by 2018.
The presidency aims to adopt:
- the Baltic Sea fishing opportunities
- the Black Sea fishing opportunities
- fishing opportunities in EU waters and beyond
The goal of the Common Fisheries Policy is to achieve the maximum sustainability yield by 2020.
The presidency aims to make progress in other areas, such as management plans, trying to reach a general approach where possible. It seeks to restart the discussions on the Baltic Sea salmon multi-annual management plan.
During this presidency it intends to push forward the work on the North Sea management plan and the technical measures framework regulation and possibly the proposal on the sustainable management of external fishing fleet.
The Estonian Presidency also plans to start discussions on the future of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) by organising a conference with the European Commission.