Agriculture News Digest
No. 156 - 22 November 2006Agriculture on Europa


Animal welfare: international workshop to discuss best practice and future prospects


An international workshop on animal welfare, organised by the European Commission, the Finnish Presidency, the Council of Europe and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), will take place in Strasbourg on 23rd and 24th November 2006. Participants from over 50 countries will meet to share national experiences in promoting and implementing animal welfare legislation, while also looking at how a better common understanding of animal welfare rules can be achieved. They will have the opportunity to discuss how to overcome the social, legal, economic and scientific obstacles that can hinder the effective implementation of animal welfare standards, and to exchange best practice solutions. The workshop will also address the role of international organisations in promoting and protecting animal welfare, the added value of trans-national cooperation in this area, and the ways in which such collaboration could be improved. There will be the opportunity to review the current guidelines and standards on animal welfare set out by the OIE, EU and Council of Europe, and to consider how these could be enhanced. The overall aim of the workshop is to develop ideas on how better coordination and consensus on animal welfare issues can be achieved, with a view to improving the handling and treatment of animals at international level in the future.

More information on the workshop

More information on EU animal welfare issues


Reform of the sugar sector

Sugar Reform: Commissioner Fischer Boel urges further efforts in restructuring the EU sugar industry

21/11/2006 Also available in:
CS | DA | DE | ET | EL | ES | FR | IT | LV | LT | HU | MT | NL | PL | PT | SK | SL | FI | SV

Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, called on Monday for renewed efforts by agricultural ministers and the sugar industry to make the restructuring process in the sugar industry a success. A key element in the EU sugar reform, which came into force on 1 July 2006, was the establishment of a restructuring fund financed by sugar producers to assist the restructuring process needed to render the industry more competitive. The objective is to take out about 6 million tonnes of quota in order to ensure balance on the market after a four-year transition period. In the first year of application, about 1.5 million tonnes of quota were renounced under the restructuring scheme. The deadline for applications for 2007/2008 is 31 January 2007, but given that consultations with interested parties could take up to 45 days, restructuring intentions have to be announced by early December. Regrettably, at present the declared intentions to renounce quota for 2007/2008 amount to only 0.7 million tonnes which is far below what is necessary to balance the market.


EU to request WTO consultations on India's import regime for spirits and wines

20/11/2006 Also available in:

The European Commission will today request formal consultations with India in the WTO (under the Dispute Settlement Understating) regarding India's import regime for spirits and wines. This decision follows an investigation carried out in the framework of the European Union’s Trade Barriers Regulation (TBR) at the request of the European Spirits Organisation (CEPS) and the Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV). A European Union Trade Barriers Regulation Investigation concluded that access to the potentially large Indian market for spirits and wines is severely restricted due to a high duty burden and restrictions on retail distribution in certain Indian States. The European Union considers that these trade barriers are in clear breach of international trade rules. After having allowed India a considerable period of time to address the problem, the EU now hopes to use the WTO consultation process to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution with India.


Promoting healthy diets: Commission-funded programme wins WHO Counteracting Obesity Award


A project to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables, financed by the European Commission to the tune of EUR 600,000, has just won a major international award. The Irish "Food Dude" campaign won a World Health Organisation Counteracting Obesity Award 2006. The award was presented by Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou during the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Counteracting Obesity being held from 15 to 17 November 2006 in Istanbul. The initiative, which is one of the 146 commitments made to the Commission's Platform for Action on Diet Physical Activity and Health, was praised by Commissioner Kyprianou as "an innovative approach to promoting a healthy and balanced diet among children". The three-year programme was singled out for its success in promoting "fruit and vegetable consumption in a way that changes children's behaviour for the better on a permanent basis while ensuring the availability of the promoted product". This is just one of a number of EU co-financed agricultural promotion projects aimed at boosting healthy eating, at a time when Europe faces a growing problem of obesity, particularly among the young. The award comes as the Commission finalises its proposals to reform the way it supports fruit and vegetable growers across the EU. Better promotion of fruit and vegetables to stimulate consumption will be a major cornerstone of the reform, due to be unveiled on 24 January 2007. Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "This is an excellent example of how our promotion efforts can make a real difference to the long-term health of our citizens. It's just the sort of thing I want to build on when we make our proposals to reform our fruit and vegetable market."


Opening of tariff quota for 2007 for bananas from ACP countries


The Management Committee for Bananas gave a favourable opinion on a European Commission proposal to open a duty-free tariff quota of 775,000 tonnes for ACP countries for 2007. 81% of the quota is on a "first come, first served" basis and the remaining 19% under licences, the same division that applied for the period March-December 2006. This means that 628,152 tonnes will be made available on a "first come, first served" basis, in six tranches of 104,692 tonnes each. The tranches will be made available every two months. The remaining 146,848 tonnes of the tariff quota will be reserved for operators who actually imported bananas from ACP countries in 2006. The licences for these operators will be proportional to the quantities they imported from ACP countries in 2006. The proposal will now be put for formal approval to the Commission. Background: on 29 November 2005, the EU adopted a new "tariff-only" import regime for bananas from countries enjoying Most Favoured Nation status, applying from 1 January 2006. The regime also includes a duty-free annual import quota of 775,000 tonnes for bananas originating in ACP countries.


Commission charges five Member States for failure to prevent build-up of surplus sugar stocks

13/11/2006 Also available in:
DE | ET | EL | FR | LV | MT | SK

The European Commission today fixed definitive charges on five Member States for failing to prevent the build-up of surplus stocks of sugar prior to their accession in May 2004. The five countries (Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Slovakia and Malta) will have to pay charges totalling around EUR 57 million over the next four years. As is usual before every enlargement, the new Member States were required to ensure that there was no speculative stockpiling of agricultural products, which would upset the balance of the entire EU market. Surplus stocks of sugar were found in these five countries. Last year, the Commission granted them additional time to eliminate the surplus sugar from the EU market. The charges imposed today follow an intensive debate with the countries concerned, during which the Commission took into account well-founded arguments and granted extra time to dispose of the surpluses.


Commission approves over EUR 11.5 million to tackle animal diseases in Bulgaria and Romania in 2007

09/11/2006 Also available in:
DE | EL | FR

A draft Commission Decision to allocate up to EUR 11,506,000 to Bulgaria and Romania for the monitoring, eradication and control of animal diseases in 2007, was backed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health yesterday. The agreed co-funding will cover a series animal health programmes which were submitted by the Bulgarian and Romanian authorities to the Commission for approval, in line with EU veterinary legislation. These programmes are a crucial factor in preserving animal and public health, both in Bulgaria and Romania and throughout the EU. The Decision will be adopted by the Commission in the coming weeks.


Member States back a series of veterinary and food safety decisions for after Enlargement

09/11/2006 Also available in:
DE | EL | FR

Commission proposals on a number of food safety and animal health issues linked to the forthcoming accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU, have been backed by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. Member State veterinary experts voted in favour of granting a list of food establishments transitional periods in which to finish upgrading to EU standards. Transitional measures for certain products of animal origin were also agreed. In addition, the Standing Committee approved a list of new Border Inspection Posts that will become operational from 1 January 2007, agreed to residue monitoring programmes submitted by Bulgaria and Romania, and supported necessary technical changes to the EU systems for the control animal movements (TRACES) and for the notification of animal diseases.


Agricultural statistics

Commission publishes latest agricultural trade statistics


A new edition of "Agricultural trade statistics" has just been published on EUROPA. Based on Eurostat data, it provides a thousand tables and graphs describing the European Union's agricultural trade position in the world as well as detailed trade information (per chapter and/or at aggregated product level and by region) in values and quantities. The data cover the years 1996-2005 for the EU-15 and from 1999 onwards for the New Member States and the enlarged EU-25.


Transparency: Commission facilitates access to Member State information on beneficiaries of CAP payments

08/11/2006 Also available in:

To further improve openness and access to information, the European Commission is publishing on its EUROPA website a page with links to Member State websites containing information about end-beneficiaries of payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This step is part of the European Transparency Initiative (ETI). Full transparency should be ensured with the publication of all end-beneficiaries of CAP payments in line with the Commission's proposals introduced in the Financial Regulation. The Council has agreed to start this process from 2009, and discussions are still ongoing with the European Parliament.


Commissioner Fischer Boel's website

Speeches by Commissioner Fischer Boel

"Innovation as a tool to increase competitiveness in the EU's agricultural sector" (Young Farmer's Conference, Bruges, 17/11/2006)



What's new on the Commission's "Agriculture and Rural Development" website?

MAP (Monitoring Agri-trade Policy) Newsletter 02/06: "Brazil's Agriculture: a Survey"

"Agricultural trade statistics 2005"

Member State websites providing information on beneficiaries of CAP payments under shared management


Quality products catch the eye: PDO, PGI or TSG

Registration as PDO, PGI or TSG

Applications for registration:

'Bayerischer Meerrettich' or 'Bayerischer Kren': PDO (OJ C 283 - 21/11/2006, p. 12)

'Hořické trubičky': PGI (OJ C 280 - 18/11/2006, p. 10)

'Barèges-Gavarnie': PDO (OJ C 279 - 17/11/2006, p. 9)

Applications for cancellation:

'Newcastle Brown Ale': PGI (OJ C 280 - 18/11/2006, p. 13)


Calls for tender

Calls for tender

Contract notices are available in all official EU languages.

Important notice: This selection is not exhaustive. For a complete list of current calls for tenders please log on to Tenders electronic daily.

"Evaluation of the Set Aside Measure 2000 to 2006": Contract notice and tender documents [Deadline for submission: 08/01/2007]