23/09/2013 - Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRI)
Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) - outstanding issues discussed
On 23 September 2013 the Council discussed the remaining questions to be solved with a view to agreement with the European Parliament on the CAP reform.
Ministers made a final adjustment to the Council mandate on the outstanding points linked to the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The text reflected the broad agreement reached after intensive negotiations led by the Lithuanian Presidency.
The Parliament felt the following outstanding issues were not part of the political agreement on the CAP reform package:
- progressive reduction and capping of direct payments to farmers
- flexibility between direct payments on the one hand and rural development and conservation measures on the other, and
- rural development co-financing rates.
The adjustment to the Council mandate paved the way for a political agreement on the outstanding issues at the informal trilogue meeting (Council, Parliament and Commission) on 24 September. The main elements of the agreement concern direct payments to farmers and support for rural development.
The Parliament's Agriculture Committee is due to vote on the CAP reform on 30 September 2013.
The Council Presidency will present the legal texts to the member states for approval at a meeting of the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) on 7 October.
Vigilijus Jukna, Agriculture Minister of Lithuania said:
"The Council is determined to finish the negotiations with the Parliament now. Both institutions are committed to finding an agreement on the CAP reform and to ensuring that the new reformed CAP starts functioning from the 1 January 2014.
It is also important to reach an agreement on the transitional measures for 2014. Most of these are related to direct payments and rural development."
Other topics on the agenda
New EU Forest Strategy
The Commission presented its new EU Forest Strategy. It aims to adapt the current strategy that dates back to 1998. Forest policy is still a national responsibility, but the EU can contribute to a common sustainable forest management policy through better coordination.
International trade issues
The Commission briefed the Council on on-going international trade and agriculture negotiations, i.e. in the framework of the WTO Doha Development Round and negotiations with Canada and the USA on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.