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Commission Warning over Cage Non-Compliance

by 5m Editor
15 November 2011, at 10:08am

EU - At the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, the Commission warned member states of the negative consequences of non-compliance over the ban on conventional battery cages for laying hens, and reconfirmed its determination not to postpone the ban and to act firmly against cases of non-compliance.

In Brussels yesterday (14 November), the 3123rd Council meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council was held under the presidency of Marek Sawacki, Minister for Rural Development of Poland.

Implementation of the laying hens directive

Ministers were briefed by the Commission on the implementation of directive 1999/74 on the protection of laying hens (16603/11).

Most delegations were in favour to strictly maintain the deadline for implementing the directive on the protection of laying hens because they considered producers had made huge efforts on this important animal welfare issue and delaying implementation would be unfair on these farmers.

Some other member states, in which the directive is not fully implemented, indicated that they will accelerate the process in order to comply with the directive.

The Commission informed the Council of the outcome of the meeting with the member states on the level of implementation of the directive on the welfare of laying hens, which took place at the end of last month. As it showed that the implementation is still incomplete in some member states and information is still partly missing, the meeting was convened to find practical solutions to prevent the illegal circulation of eggs not produced in compliance with the law, in order to avoid potential disruption of the egg market at the end of this year.

The Commission warned member states of the negative consequences of such non-compliance and reconfirmed its determination not to postpone the ban and to act firmly against cases of non-compliance.

Directive 1999/74 provides that conventional cages will have to be phased out in the EU by 1 January 2012 because they have been found unacceptable for animal welfare reasons. Those cages have to be replaced either by enriched cages or alternative systems. Member states have been primarily responsible for the implementation of the directive since its adoption.

Main results of the Council

Concerning fisheries, the Council had an exchange of views on the external dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy.

As regards agriculture, ministers had an exchange of views on the regulation on direct payments within the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package.

During lunch, ministers had a discussion on the greening of direct payments.

Finally, the Council was briefed on the implementation of the directive concerning the welfare of laying hens, on a conference on forestry for climate and biodiversity, on the 30th conference of the directors of paying agencies of the EU and on the prolongation of the sugar regime to 2020. Concerning the aid of the most deprived persons in the EU a compromise should guarantee the effective functioning of the programme in 2012 and 2013 under specific conditions.

Further Reading

- You can view the report of the meeting by clicking here.