Agriculture News Digest

       No. 95    23 July 2004

"EU of 25 brings new opportunities to farm sector", Commissioner Kalniete says
Commission to restore preferential treatment of sugar imports from Serbia and Montenegro
Green light for EUR 561.8 million for Rural Development Plan of Slovakia
Green light for EUR 353.1 million Rural Development Plan in the Republic of Slovenia
Go ahead for EUR 754.14 million Rural Development Plan in Hungary
Go ahead for EUR 3.59 billion Rural Development Plan for Poland
Green light for EUR 182.9 million for agriculture and rural development in Slovakia
Plant health and world trade: EU signs up to new international rules
Outcome of the Agriculture Council of July 2004
State of the art monitoring technologies: reducing irregularities in EU agricultural funding
Registration as PDO, PGI or TSG

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"EU of 25 brings new opportunities to farm sector", Commissioner Kalniete says

23/07/2004 -  Speaking at the Libramont Agriculture Fair today, EU Commissioner Sandra Kalniete highlighted the opportunities the enlarged European Union (EU) of 25 brings to farmers and rural areas. "Let us not forget that the number of consumers in that market has risen to 454 million. And that this market is one without tariff restrictions, export quotas or trade barriers. It is clear that this offers opportunities for both EU-15 Member States and new Member States. Trade between the EU-15 and the new Member States has already significantly increased during the period preceding enlargement, and will further increase in the years ahead", she stressed. On the Commission proposal to reform the sugar sector, Mrs. Kalniete made clear that the status quo was not tenable.


 
Customs tariffs: Commission to restore preferential treatment of sugar imports from Serbia and Montenegro
 

22/07/2004 - The European Commission has decided to restore preferential treatment of sugar imported into the EU from Serbia and Montenegro, thus putting an end to a period of 15 months when the preferential (zero) tariff could not be applied. The decision has been taken because measures have now been adopted by Serbia and Montenegro which will in future enable them to certify the origin of sugar and to ensure the necessary co-operation for verifying proofs of origin. The Commission will nevertheless continue to monitor the situation in the country very closely and continue to press Serbia and Montenegro to clear completely past certificates. A notice to importers announcing this decision will soon be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The suspension measure will expire on 7 August 2004. The preferential treatment was initially suspended in May 2003 (IP/03/600) for a period of three months and later renewed twice for additional periods of six months. A notice published in January 2004 (IP/04/68) warning EU importers to take all necessary precautions to verify the origin of imports from Serbia and Montenegro remains in effect.


 Rural development: New Member States
Green light for EUR 561.8 million for Rural Development Plan of Slovakia
 

20/07/2004 - Today, the European Union's Committee for Agriculture Structures (STAR) gave its favourable opinion to the Rural Development Plan (RDP) of the Slovak Republic 2004-2006. Worth EUR 561.8 million overall, the EU contribution will amount to EUR 397.1 million during the three-year period 2004-2006, and the rest will be complemented with Slovak public and private financing. Slovakia has a good tradition of farming and the country has huge forestry potential. With this rural development plan, the EU will support Slovakia to improve the profitability of farms, to maintain farming in less favourite areas, to set up specific agri-environment schemes, to step up afforestation activities and improve forest management, to help farmers meet environmental standards. The plan encourages also semi subsistence farms to become more economically viable and supports the setting up producer groups. The Commission will formally approve the plan in the coming weeks. This comes on top of EUR 182.9 million "Operational Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development" which the Commission has approved.


 Rural development: New Member States
Green light for EUR 353.1 million Rural Development Plan in the Republic of Slovenia
 

20/07/2004 - Today, the Committee on Agricultural Structures and Rural Development (STAR Committee) gave its favourable opinion to the Slovene Rural Development Plan (RDP) worth EUR 353.1 million. The EU contribution to the plan will amount for EUR 281.6 million over the three-year period 2004-2006. The rest will be financed from Slovene national funds. The plan includes a range of rural development measures that are tailor-made for the needs of Slovene rural areas. It aims to mitigate the differences in farm profitability in less-favoured areas that result from natural conditions, to improve the unfavourable age structure of farmers, and to provide to a sufficient extent for the farming of agricultural land in conformity with the principles of Good Farming Practice.


 Rural development: New Member States
Go ahead for EUR 754.14 million Rural Development Plan in Hungary
 

20/07/2004 - Today, the EU's Committee for Agricultural Structures (STAR) gave a favourable opinion on the Hungarian Rural Development Plan (RDP). The programme is worth EUR 754.14 million for the period 2004-2006, of which the EU contribution amounts to EUR 602.30 million, with the balance financed from Hungarian national funds. The plan, which covers the whole territory of Hungary, includes a broad range of rural development measures. It seeks to improve income and safeguard employment in the rural areas, and to support environment-friendly agricultural development, more rational land-use, and landscape management. The plan will help to maintain farming activities and to improve farm incomes in less-favoured areas. It should also help increase the forest cover and enhance the environmental features of new forests. The plan encourages semi-subsistence farms to become economically viable and supports the setting-up of producer groups. The Commission will formally adopt the plan in the coming weeks.


 Rural development: New Member States
Go ahead for EUR 3.59 billion Rural Development Plan for Poland
 

20/07/2004 - Today, the European Union's Committee for Agriculture Structures (STAR) gave a favourable opinion to the Polish Horizontal Rural Development Plan (HRDP). Worth in total EUR 3.592 billion, the EU contribution will amount to EUR 2.866 billion during the three-year period 2004-2006. It will be complemented with Polish public funding of EUR 726 million. With this rural development plan, the EU will help Poland to improve the profitability of farms in less favoured areas, to set up specific agri-environment schemes, to step up afforestation activities, to convert small farms into viable farming units, to meet EU standards for farming, and will offer them technical assistance for the implementation of the plan. The Commission will formally approve the plan in the coming weeks. This money comes on top of the EUR 1.8 billion "Operational Programme for Restructuring and Modernisation of the Food Sector and Rural Development" the Commission approved on 8 July.


 Rural development: New Member States
Green light for EUR 182.9 million for agriculture and rural development in Slovakia
 

20/07/2004 - The European Commission approved Slovakia's Operational Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development for the period 2004-2006. The outcome of negotiations between Slovakia and the Commission on financial aid from the Structural Funds, it will cover Slovakia's Objective 1 regions and is aimed at modernising farming and encouraging rural development. Of the total assistance of EUR 182.9 million the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) Guidance Section will contribute EUR 181.1 million and the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) EUR 1.8 million.


 
Plant health and world trade: EU signs up to new international rules
 

20/07/2004 - The Agriculture Council has approved a revision of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to strengthen its role in setting international standards. Council also decided that the European Union should become a party to the IPPC in its own right, alongside the 25 EU Member States. Both decisions recognise the growing importance of the IPPC in the international trading system. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) recognises the right of WTO members to impose restrictions on imports if these are needed to protect their agriculture from plant diseases or pests. This right is set out in the WTO's Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (SPS Agreement), which also calls on the IPPC to provide international standards to help ensure WTO members develop a harmonised approach and do not use such measures as unjustified barriers to trade. The revised Convention formalises the IPPC's Secretariat and establishes a governing body, the "Commission on Phytosanitary Measures", for the setting of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures. These will be recognised under the SPS Agreement. The standard-setting process in the IPPC emphasises participation, consultation and technical competence. The new rules explicitly foresee the participation of bodies such as the EU.


 
Outcome of the Agriculture Council of July 2004
 

Topics: Negotiations with Russia on veterinary matters / Putting on the market of the GM maize NK603 / New rural development policy / Sugar reform / Rice imports / Forest law enforcement, governance and trade / WTO agriculture talks


 
State of the art monitoring technologies: reducing irregularities in EU agricultural funding

19/07/2004 - Using innovative Geographic information system (GIS) technology and land parcel identification systems (LPIS), the European Commission is playing a key role in preventing agricultural subsidy irregularities. Through better monitoring of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms, the Commission is ensuring that subsidies are distributed more efficiently, fairly and reliably. The Agriculture and Fisheries Council Meeting in Brussels today will underline that implementing fair CAP reforms is essential. GIS technology is a computerized form of mapping technology, linked to databases containing information associated with the mapped features, in this case fields and field boundaries. LPIS digital data is a key reference to ensure that aid for any piece of land is claimed once only, and only by one farmer, helping identify anomalies. Farmers can now directly observe their land, more precisely determine their boundaries, and file more accurate subsidy applications. The Commission and EU Member States will also be better able to spot irregularities.

 


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

Amendment to specifications:

Scotch Lamb: PGI (OJ L 249 - 23/07/2004)



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