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Significant Progress Made on Ag Policy

26 September 2012, at 9:05am

EU - “I believe that we are moving in the right direction,” stated Cyprus’s Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Sofoclis Aletraris, at the end of the first day of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels.

Yesterday the Council continued the intensive work on the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) Reform in an effort to achieve a partial general approach before the end of the Cyprus Presidency. Specifically, ministers concentrated on the draft Rural Development Regulation and the draft Regulation on the proposed Single Market Organisation.

The main issue of discussion was the CAP Reform and specifically the Regulations on Rural Development and on the Common Market Organisation for agricultural products. The orientation debate on both regulations was introduced by means of a Presidency questionnaire, which focused on Member States’ concerns.

Regarding the Rural Development Regulation, Member States were positive for the proposed greater flexibility on the application of fine tuning as regards excluding those areas facing significant natural constraints (ANC) which have been overcome by investments or economic activities. Member states were also positive towards prolonging the transition period up to the end of 2015.

Many delegations noted that the Commission Proposal regarding the safety net strikes the right balance even though there is space for further improvements. Regarding the reference prices a great number of delegations supported a mechanism for an adaptation. A smaller number of member states consider the current level of reference prices to be sufficient.

Furthermore, the Ministers were informed on a series of other important issues such as droughts and the consequences of the increase of feeding stuff prices. The Presidency briefed the Ministers about the maximum residue limit for Ractopamine in beef and pork meat, according to the decision made by the Codex Alimentarius Committee. The Council was also informed on the consequences of the adulteration of spirits in the Czech Republic. The situation of the dairy sector was also on Minsters’ agenda.

The Council will continue its work on the CAP reform at its next meeting in October.