Conclusies Landbouwraad: bescherming vissoorten, hervorming landbouwbeleid, handel met Amerika, bescherming plantenrassen (en)
|Mr Dermot AHERN, T.D.
Minister for Communication, Marine and Natural Resources of Ireland
Mr Joe WALSH, T.D.
Minister for Agriculture and Food of Ireland
For further information call 32 2 285 95 89 32 2 285 63 19
INCIDENTAL CATCHES OF CETACEANS 6
CAP Reform . olive oil, cotton, tobaco and hops 7
Other business 7
Outcome of Commissioner Byrne's visit to the United States of America (USA) (18-19 March 2004) 7
Plant protection products 8
EU-Mercosur negotiations in the agricultural sector 8
Organisation of future works 9
ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE
- Rural development 10
- "DARWIN MOUNDS" 10
- Fishing activities in the Antarctic 10
- Fishing agreement EEC/GUINEA 10
- UN - EC : Uniform prescriptions for agricultural and forestry tractors 11
- EC - Czech Republic : extension of CCN/CSI 11
- Enhancing ship and port facility security - Public deliberation 12
- Electronic toll systems * - Public deliberation 12
- Statistics relating to the trading of goods - Public deliberation 12
1 ; €? Where declarations, conclusions or resolutions have been formally adopted by the Council, this is indicated in the heading for the item concerned and the text is placed between quotation marks.
€? The documents whose references are given in the text are available on the Council's Internet site
€? Acts adopted with statements for the Council minutes which may be released to the public are indicated by an asterisk; these statements are available on the above mentioned Council Internet site or may be obtained from the Press Office.
The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:
|Ms Sabine LARUELLE||Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, the Liberal Professions and the Self-Employed and Agriculture|
|Mr Jef TAVERNIER||Flemish Minister for the Environment, Agriculture and Development Cooperation|
|Ms Mariann Fischer BOEL||Minister for Food|
|Mr Poul OTTOSEN||Secretary of State, Ministry for Food|
|Ms Renate KÜNAST||Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture|
|Mr Savvas TSITOURIDIS||Minister for Rural Development and Food|
|Mr Miguel ARIAS CAÑETE||Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food|
|Mr Christian MASSET||Deputy Permanent Representative|
|Mr John BROWNE||Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources|
|Mr John MALONE||Secretary General, Department of Agriculture and Food|
|Mr Giovanni ALEMANNO||Minister for Agricultural and Forestry Policy|
|Mr Christian BRAUN||Deputy Permanent Representative|
|Mr Cornelis Pieter VEERMAN||Minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality|
|Mr Josef PRÖLL||Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, the Environment and Water Management|
|Mr Armando SEVINATE PINTO||Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries|
|Mr Juha KORKEAOJA||Minister for Agriculture and Forestry|
|Ms Ann-Christin NYKVIST||Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries|
|Mr Ben BRADSHAW||
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
* * *
|Mr Franz FISCHLER||Member|
|Mr David BYRNE||Member|
The Governments of the acceding States were represented as follows:
|Mr Miroslav TOMAN||State Secretary|
|Mr Margus RAHUOJA||Deputy Head of Mission|
|Mr Theophilos THEOPHILOU||Deputy Head of Mission|
|Mr Martins ROZE||Minister for Agriculture|
|Mr Jeronimas KRAUJELIS||Minister for Agriculture|
|Mr Ferenc NYUHTO||Deputy State Secretary, Ministry for Agriculture|
|Mr Philip VON BROCKDORFF||Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Rural Affairs and the Environment|
|Mr Jerzy PLEWA||Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development|
|Mr Franc BUT||Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Food|
|Mr Juraj NOCIAR||Deputy Head of Mission|
INCIDENTAL CATCHES OF CETACEANS
After arduous negotiations, the Council reached political agreement by qualified majority on the Presidency compromise on the proposal laying down measures concerning incidental catches of cetaceans in fisheries and amending Regulation (EC) nº88/98, which the Commission endorsed. The Italian and Spanish delegations indicated their intention to vote against. The Council will adopt the Regulation at a forthcoming meeting once it has been finalised by the legal-linguistic experts.
The main elements of the compromise tabled by the Presidency with regard to the initial proposal of the Commission (11838/03) are exposed as follows:
- vessels below 12 meters shall not be subject to the use of pingers (vessels of all sizes were initially included in the proposal);
- fisheries using pingers shall not be subject to the on-board observer scheme;
- the dates for implementing the mandatory use of acoustic deterrent devices have changed, depending on the fishing areas and the gear used; the new dates are 1 June 2005, 1 January 2006 and 1 January 2007 ;(initially ;1 July 2004 was proposed for all areas and fisheries). Different dates apply within ;area VII, and an additional fishing area (Baltic Sea subdivision 24) will be covered by the mandatory use of pingers from 1 January 2007;
- in a statement the Commission declares that it will consider, in the framework of its pending proposal on the amendment of the FIFG Regulation, providing for a possibility for Member States to support the purchase of acoustic deterrent devices for commitments made in the years 2005 and 2006.
as regards the on-board observer scheme for the fisheries:
- vessels below 15 meters shall not be subject to an on-board observer scheme for fisheries (vessels of all sizes were initially included in the proposal);
- monitoring schemes will be based either on a sampling strategy designed to allow the estimation of the by-catch rates for cetaceans to achieve an accuracy rate of 30%, or on pilot monitoring schemes when there is a lack of information on the variability of by-catch. The sampling strategy will be based on existing information concerning previous by-catch observations. The pilot schemes will cover a minimum fishing effort mostly expressed in percentages;
- the implementation date will vary from 1 January 2005 to 1 January 2006 (instead of 1 July 2004 in the initial proposal), depending on the scientific advice for the areas and fisheries concerned.
Concerning the initial proposal to phase out drift-nets in the Baltic Sea from 1 January 2007, after an immediate length limitation of drift-nets to 2.5 km:
- the date set for completion of the phasing-out of ;drift-nets in the Baltic Sea is now 1 January 2008;
- the phasing-out of drift-nets will start on 1 January 2005 (1 July 2004 in the initial proposal);
- instead of the length limitation of drift-nets planned for the phasing-out, drift-nets will be subject to a fishing effort limitation scheme and will be gradually reduced from 40% of the fleet in 2005, 60% in 2006, 80% in 2007 and 100% on 1 January 2008.
concerning the mandatory use of acoustic deterrent devices ("pingers"):
CAP Reform . olive oil, cotton, tobaco and hops ;
The Council held an intensive debate on the two proposals concerning Mediterranean products reforms. Although progress was made, conditions are not yet ripe for an overall agreement. An additional Council session is to be held on 19 and 20 April 2004 in Luxembourg with a view to reaching political agreement on this issue.
- Outcome of Commissioner Byrne's visit to the United States of America (USA) (18-19 March 2004)
The Council took note of the information provided by Commissioner BYRNE on the outcome of his visit to the USA.
Commissioner BYRNE underlined that his meetings with Secretary of Agriculture VENEMAN, US Trade Representative ZOELLICK, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services ALLEN and acting FDA Commissioner CRAWFORD had been successful. He also noted the need for a enhanced transatlantic dialogue based on greater cooperation on food safety issues, with a view to serve as a model for other areas of the world.
Discussions on further cooperation will involve issues such as regionalisation for classical swine fever in Europe, poultry meat, audits and inspections, animal by-products, and residues. As regards the recent delisting of certain export establishments in France, Commissioner BYRNE emphasised that the US administration was eager to make progress towards relisting those establishments, on the basis of the information it had requested. He also noted a positive reaction from the US authorities to the idea of holding a HACCP seminar in Europe. Finally, he pointed out that his Institution was currently examining the information provided by the US authorities in order to apply the regionalisation in respect of the recent outbreak of high pathogenic avian influenza in Texas.
The Netherlands delegation expressed its concerns as regards the recent ban by Japanese and Russian importers on Dutch poultry, and its negative effects on trade. This delegation stressed the need to classify the different pathogenic agents and develop greater surveillance of the pathogenic degree of avian influenza based on a joint community position.
The French delegation thanked Commissioner BYRNE for his efforts in reaching a solution to the current delisting of certain export establishments in France. This delegation insisted on the need to return, with the help of the Commission, to the previous situation and expressed satisfaction about the possible holding of a HACCP seminar in Europe.
- Plant protection products
The Austrian delegation, supported by the Italian, Finnish and Nehterlands delegations, drew the attention of the Council and the Commission to the need for a centralised authorisation procedure for plant protection products within the Community. The Austrian delegation pointed out in particular the lack of efficiency of the existing procedure, which is based on the mutual recognition of plant protection products between Member States and was established under Directive 91/414/EEC. This delegation also warned against the risk of market distortion and the need for centralised procedures in order to reduce prices, and called upon the Commission to table alternative suggestions when revising the Directive.
The Belgian delegation expressed its support for greater harmonisation of the risk assessment procedures prior to the authorisation of plant protection products. The German delegation, emphasising its wish to see a high level of protection for consumers, pointed out that a new proposal expected in November 2004, would provide an opportunity to give a closer look at the centralisation procedure. The Swedish delegation, while supporting the review of the Council Directive on plant protection products, expressed sympathy with the idea of extending regional authorisation.
The Spanish and Portuguese delegations stressed the need for authorisation to be granted by a national authority and on a regional basis while taking into account local and specific conditions, such as altitude and climate.
Commissioner BYRNE, taking note of the delegations comments' and having recalled the sensitivity of this issue as regards health protection, acknowledged that the current system based on mutual recognition was not working properly. He agreed with the Austrian delegation on the need for a change in legislation. He added that such a change might involve the granting of a zonal authorisation in conjunction with mutual recognition of the products. He finally indicated that his Institution would put forward a proposal amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC by the end of this year.
- EU-Mercosur negotiations in the agricultural sector
The Council took note of the request by the German delegation (7556/04) for information from the Commission on the current state of play and subsequent steps to be taken in the EU-Mercosur negotiations.
Commissioner FISCHLER reminded the delegations that the main aim of the negotiations on agriculture was to reach an agreement on the arrangements concerning market access. He noted the positive initial reactions from the Mercosur countries to the Community "non paper" on agriculture and indicated that both parties would put new proposals on the table in mid-April aimed at making progress in the EU-Mercosur trade negotiations.
As for implementing the modalities, he also emphasised that a two-step approach would be carried out, depending on the outcome of the multilateral WTO negotiations. He finally commented on the different tariff treatment to be applied to agricultural products concerning the Community market access, based on the sensitivity of the Community products.
- Organisation of future works
The Presidency confirmed to the Council that an additional meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council devoted exclusively to the Mediterranean reforms would be held on 19-20 of April 2004 in Luxembourg.
ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE
Rural development ;
The Council unanimously adopted a Regulation amending the Regulation on support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) (6343/04).
The aim of the initial proposal was to allow new Member States to adapt to standards established by the Community in the field of the environment; public, animal and plant health, animal welfare and occupational safety until such time as the required standard is due to be met, by giving to the farmers additional transfers to offset the costs of compliance.
A temporary derogation of three years (2004-2006) is introduced to Council Regulation (EC) 1257/1999 to allow new Member States to take investment costs into account under certain conditions when determining the level of the annual support under the "Meeting standards" measure. The investment costs may be taken into consideration for determining the level of annual support. A maximum ceiling of € 25 000 per farm is set in the Regulation.
This measure is budget neutral for the European Community and will be financed within the envelopes 20042006 approved for the new Member States.
"DARWIN MOUNDS" ;
The Council unanimously adopted a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 850/98 as regards the protection of deep-water coral reefs from the effects of trawling in an area north west of Scotland ("Darwin Mounds") (7371/04).
The proposal aimed at banning the use of bottom trawlers or similar towed nets in the defined area of the Darwin Mounts, to protect deep-water coral reefs from the effects of trawling.
Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98 of 30 March 1998 establishes restrictions on the use of demersal towed gears. This Regulation is being amended as regards the area where vessels using bottom trawl or similar towed nets are prohibited. The initial area, located in the North-west of Scotland, and defined in the proposal has however been amended by the Council: it has been slightly reduced in the light of new scientific assessment on the north-west and north-east of the zone. The Regulation will enter into force from 23 August, after the expiration of the Commission Regulation (EC) N. 263/2004.
Fishing activities in the Antarctic
The Council unanimously adopted two Regulations laying down certain technical and control measures applicable to fishing activities in the area covered by the Convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources (CCAMLR) (6829/04, 6835/04). As the adoption of conservation measures by CCAMLR is binding on the contracting parties, these Regulations include in Community law the provisions for the control of fishing activities and technical rules, which apply to certain fishing activities. These provisions include among other, the banning of certain types of equipment regarded as harmful to environment, the use of specific fishing gear. As regard the control of fishing activities, they entail special fishing permits, data reporting system, inspection at sea and in port and infringement procedures.
Fishing agreement EEC/GUINEA ;
The Council unanimously adopted a Decision on the conclusion of a fishing agreement between the European Economic Community and the Republic of Guinea (6840/04). This Decision will apply for the next five years from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2008.
The Agreement provides for fishing opportunities for EEC vessels' (Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal), mostly for shrimp fishing, tuna seiners, fin-fish and cephalopods.
The financial contribution paid by the EEC amounts to € 19.975 Million over the five years. This amount includes on the one hand a financial compensation for the possibility given to the EEC vessels to fish off the Guinean Coast, on the other hand targeted measures to improve among other surveillance and management of the fishing effort and organisation of the fishing industry.
UN - EC : Uniform prescriptions for agricultural and forestry tractors
The Council agreed on a common approach with a view to adopting a Council Decision on the position of the EC on the draft Regulation of the UN Economic Commission for Europe concerning the uniform prescriptions applicable to the approval of internal combustion engines to be installed in agricultural and forestry tractors and in non-road mobile machinery, with regard to their net power, net torque and specific fuel consumption (5924/04). Once the European Parliament has given it assent on the file, it will come back to the Council for decision.
The aim of the Regulation is in particular to abolish the technical barriers to trade in motor vehicles, while ensuring a high level of safety and environmental protection.
EC - Czech Republic : extension of CCN/CSI
The Council adopted a Council Decision on the conclusion of an Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the EC and the Czech Republic with regard to the extension of the common communication network/common systems interface (CCN/CSI).
The purpose of the Decision is to amend the Agreement with the Czech Republic, which was concluded on 13 April 2000, under which it was agreed that the Czech Republic finance the cost of its use of the CCN/CSI. The objective of the proposal adopted is to terminate the application of these financial arrangements, following the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the PHARE networking project and the conclusion of contracts for CCN/CSI support services whereby the costs incurred are paid from pre-accession funds.
Enhancing ship and port facility security - Public deliberation
The Council approved the amendments contained in the European Parliament's opinion in first reading and adopted the Regulation on enhancing ship and port facility security (3700/03).
The main objective of this Regulation is to introduce and implement Community measures aimed at enhancing the security of ships used in international trade and domestic shipping and associated port facilities in the face of threats of intentional unlawful acts.
The Regulation is also intended to provide a basis for the harmonised interpretation and implementation and Community monitoring of the special measures to enhance maritime security adopted by the Diplomatic Conference of the IMO on 12 December 2002, which amended the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention) and established the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code).
Electronic toll systems * - Public deliberation
The Council adopted the Common Position on the Directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems in the Community (6277/04, 7353/04 ADD 1 and ADD 2).
The Council submits that the text of its Common Position is appropriate and balanced. With respect to the amendments proposed by the European Parliament in first reading, the Council observes that almost all amendments have been integrated to the letter or in spirit, partially or in full in the common position. The Council holds therefore that the text of its common position ensures that the aim sought by the amendments of Parliament is achieved.
Statistics relating to the trading of goods - Public deliberation
The Council, approving the European Parliament's amendments to the Commission's proposal, adopted the Regulation on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States and repealing Council regulation (EEC) No 3330/91 (PE-CONS 3618/04).
This Regulation establishing a common framework for the systematic production of trading of goods statistics shall apply from 1 January 2005.