Agriculture News Digest

       No. 80     19 March 2004

EU Farm Commissioner visits China to promote "Tasty Europe"
"Bulgaria's EU accession within reach", says Fischler
Negative Decision on Italian aid in response to the outbreak of bluetongue in Sardinia
Negative decision on a draft Italian aid scheme in the peach and nectarine sector
Commission opens investigation against Luxembourg over TSE guidelines
Commission approves special support programme for farmers in Southern Finland
Speeches by Commissioner Fischler
Registration as PDO, PGI or TSG
Calls for tender

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 Food quality
EU Farm Commissioner visits China to promote "Tasty Europe"

18/03/2004 - Franz Fischler, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, will pay an official visit to China from 25 to 30 March 2004. Mr. Fischler's visit will focus on the promotion of European Union (EU) quality food products on the Chinese market. The Commissioner will be accompanied by a high level business delegation of executives from leading European food producers. Mr. Fischler will hold a series of bilateral meetings with Chinese Ministers and officials from the Shanghai municipality. The Commissioner will also participate in business round tables and seminars and attend the opening of SIAL China, the leading trade fair for food, beverages, wines and spirits in Shanghai. The EU has a stand at SIAL to promote EU quality food. The Commissioner's bilateral meetings will focus on farm trade relations between China and the EU, China's WTO accession and its impact on farm trade, relaunching the stalled WTO talks on agricultural trade liberalisation and rural development, an issue of increasing importance in China and the EU.

 Agriculture and enlargement 
"Bulgaria's EU accession within reach", says EU Farm Commissioner Fischler

16/03/2004 - Speaking on the occasion of an official visit to Bulgaria, Franz Fischler, EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries said that Bulgaria's accession to the EU was within reach. "The clear objective of the European Commission and the Member States is to welcome Bulgaria as a member of the EU in 2007. The EU will aim at concluding the accession negotiations in 2004. The Accession Treaty could be signed as soon as possible in 2005. But whether this ambitious timetable can be met will be up to Bulgaria and the progress it makes. Having already dealt with many difficult chapters in the accession negotiations, Bulgaria is well on track to end negotiations in 2004", he underlined.

 State aid
Negative Decision on Italian aid in response to the outbreak of ovine catarrhal fever (bluetongue) in Sardinia

16/03/2004 - The European Commission has adopted a decision declaring EUR 2.5 million in aid to compensate meat processing and marketing undertakings for lost income as a result of the Bluetongue outbreak in Sardinia to be incompatible with the rules on state aid.

 State aid
Negative decision on a draft Italian aid scheme in the peach and nectarine sector

16/03/2004 - The European Commission has declared an Italian aid scheme designed to remedy the crisis of peach and nectarine growing in Piedmont to be incompatible with State aid rules. The aid of EUR 108 752 that Italy awaited, was to fund a withdrawal operation of peaches and nectarines from the market.

 State aid
Failure by Luxembourg to confirm its compliance with the TSE guidelines: the Commission opens the formal investigation procedure

16/03/2004 - The Commission has decided to initiate the formal investigation procedure into the failure by Luxembourg to inform it of appropriate measures adopted in accordance with the EU guidelines on state aid for TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy) tests, fallen stock and slaughterhouse waste. Despite repeated invitations, the Luxembourg authorities have not notified the Commission of any such measures. The Commission also has reason to believe that aid schemes that conflict with the guidelines may still be in force in Luxembourg.

 State aid
Commission approves special support programme for farmers in Southern Finland

16/03/2004 - The European Commission has today approved a national support programme for farmers in the South of Finland for the years 2004 to 2007. The programme covers state aid for investment and other structural support for the improvement of farm structures, income aid of EUR 420 million for animal husbandry and horticulture, and additional agri-environmental support of EUR 225 million for crop producers. The amount of investment aid to be granted is not specified in the decision. The programme was authorised under Article 141 of the Finnish Treaty of Accession. This Article allows transitional support to be granted to farmers in Finland in case of serious difficulties persisting as a result of accession to the European Union.

 Commissioner Fischler's web site
Speeches by Commissioner Fischler

"Agriculture and enlargement - 44 days to go"
(Press conference, Sofia, Brussels, 18 March 2004)

"Building our Common Future: Policy challenges and budget resources in the enlarged Union 2007-13"
(Committee on Budgets of the European Parliament, Brussels, 17 March 2004)

"The Common Agricultural Policy and Enlargement opportunities and perspectives"
(European Information Conference, Sofia, Bulgaria, 16 March 2004)

"Bulgaria and the EU"
(National and International Economic University, Sofia, 16 March 2004)

 Quality products catch the eye: PDO, PGI and TSG
PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed)


Carciofo di Paestum: PGI (OJ L 77 - 13/03/2003)

Farina di Neccio della Garfagnana: PDO (OJ L 77 - 13/03/2003)

Amendment of specifications:

Nocciola del Piemonte: PGI (OJ L 77 - 13/03/2003)

 Calls for tender
Calls for tender

Information and communication activities concerning agriculture and rural development: Prior information notice

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(c) European Communities, 2002-2004