Proposal for a regulation on GMOs
The Council was briefed by the Commission on a proposal for a regulation on the possibility for the member states to restrict or prohibit the use of genetically modified food and feed on their territory.
During the exchange of views that followed, most of the member states expressed concerns about the proposal. Many questioned then the legal safety of the opt-out clauses which would be decided by a member state. They considered that the new process could weaken the single market and pointed out that it could contravene the international commitments of the EU. Many delegations regretted that no impact assessment has been prepared together with the proposal.
Agricultural market developments
The Council was also briefed on agricultural market developments, in particular on the impact the import ban on EU agricultural products imposed by Russia since August 2014.
During the meeting member states expressed concerns at the consequences for the sectors most affected by the ban, i.e. dairy products, pigmeat and fruit and vegetables. The Russian ban is not the only cause of the difficult economic situation faced by the EU milk and the pigmeat sector where there is a significant pressure on prices. The Commission announced market measures for fruit and vegetables and milk.
Some delegations pointed out that the future of the sugar sector should also be the focus of the EU's attention. They wished a soft landing at the end of the quota system scheduled for 2017.
For the President of the Council, Fernand Etgen: "Following closely the agricultural markets constitutes one of the main priorities of our Presidency. We wish to be informed on the evolution of the sectors facing difficulties in order to be able to react if needed."