Agriculture 12 December
Strengthening farmers' position in the food supply chain and tackling unfair trading practices
"Fairness is the new rule of the game. The fight against unfair trading practices has entered a new era. Today we have stepped up our fight against unfair trading practices. The unanimous support from the Council means that trading practices will be closely scrutinized at the European level. The Slovak Presidency has fully achieved its aim of securing for European farmers a transparent and fair business environment"Gabriela Matečná, Minister for agriculture and rural development of Slovakia and president of the Council
The Council adopted conclusions on strengthening the position of farmers in the food supply chain and tackling unfair trading practices.
The Council acknowledges the importance of a well-functioning food supply chain and expresses concern about the vulnerability of farmers in this context, despite multiple efforts to improve their situation. The conclusions suggest solutions that the Commission and member states could put in place to guarantee, among others, that risks are shared more equally along the supply chain, contractualization is enhanced, and market transparency and risk management improved.
The conclusions also call on the Commission to undertake an impact assessment with a view to proposing an EU legislative framework or other non-legislative measures to address unfair trading practices. Any initiative should respect the principle of subsidiarity and safeguard well-functioning national systems.
Agriculture and climate change
Ministers had an exchange of views on the agricultural aspects of the Commission proposals for an effort-sharing regulation (ESR) and a regulation on land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF regulation).
Member states generally welcomed the Commission proposals and highlighted the contribution that agriculture can make to climate mitigation. They also stressed the importance of guaranteeing consistency between the objectives of tackling climate change and ensuring food security.
Some ministers also focused their intervention on the role of sustainable forestry management.
Other topics on the agenda
Ministers were informed of the state of play of the negotiations on the proposed regulation on organic production, and of:
- plant breeders' rights
- the implementation of the new regulation on protective measures against plant pests
- the outcome of the kick-off meeting of EU Platform on food waste and food losses
Fisheries 13 December
2017 catch limits in the Atlantic and North Sea
"Sustainability has been the driver of today's agreement: the sustainability of our fish stocks, but also that of our fisheries sector. We have successfully reconciled different opinions to the benefit of all parties involved, and established the basis for the achievement of maximum sustainable yield"
Gabriela Matečná, Minister for agriculture and rural development of Slovakia and president of the Council
The Council reached a political agreement on a regulation concerning the 2017 catch limits for the main commercial fish stocks in the Atlantic, the North Sea and international fisheries in which EU vessels participate.
Thanks to the Council decision, the number of fish stocks managed at MSY levels will increase next year to 44 and the positive trend concerning stocks within safe biological limits will be strengthened. The agreement also tackles the question of choke species in mixed fisheries by providing elements of flexibility.
The agreement will apply as from 1 January 2017.