17/06/2014 - Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRI)
School fruit and vegetables scheme and fisheries discard plans on the Council agenda
Meeting on 16-17 June, minsters looked at agriculture and fisheries issues, including progress on the proposal to revise the school fruit, vegetables and milk scheme, and the preparation of discard plans under the new fisheries rules
School fruit and milk scheme
The Council discussed a progress report on ongoing work on changes to the schemes to supply fruit and vegetables, bananas and milk in schools.
The main issues raised during the Council discussions were:
- the correct legal basis to use for the proposal
- concerns over the balance between the basic act and the delegated powers
- the objective of merging of the schemes and their overall scope
- the financial provisions and the administrative burden
The Commission's proposal aims to streamline the existing schemes to make them more efficient and effective. The changes would also simplify the administration of the schemes and bring them in line with recent CAP reforms.
Landing obligation and discards ban
The Council discussed preparations for the adoption of its position on the regulation on the fisheries landing obligation. The landing obligation measures aim to ensure that fishermen bring their all catches to land, eliminating the practice of discarding them at sea.
The Commission also updated the Council on the state of play of member states' discard plans being prepared at regional level.
The discard ban is one of the key measures of the Common Fisheries Policy, which was reformed last year and should apply from early 2015.
Other topics on the agenda
Ministers discussed a number of other issues during the 2-day meeting, including:
- a Commission report on the development of the market situation in the dairy sector, ahead of the end of the quota system in March 2015
- how member states plan to implement key elements of the CAP reform at national level, particularly regarding direct payments
- a European Parliament resolution of 6 February 2014 on indication of origin for meat
- a progress report on the animal and plant health package
The Council adopted conclusions on the Commission's report on the fruit and vegetable sector since its reform in 2007. It also adopted a number of items without discussion, including:
- a decision authorising the opening of negotiations on agreements between the EU and non-EU countries on trade in organic products
- approval of the signing and conclusion of EU association agreements with Georgia and Moldova
- conclusions on EU financial support to the Palestinian Authority
- a regulation to extend the duration of the SESAR joint undertaking
- a regulation setting up the Shift2Rail joint undertaking