The final stage of the European Union wine reform, agreed by agriculture ministers in December 2007, enters into force on 1 August.
The wide-ranging reform, the first stage of which applied from 1 August last year, should bring balance to the wine market, phase out wasteful and expensive market intervention measures and allow the budget to be used for more positive, proactive measures which will boost the competitiveness of European wines.
The reform provides for a fast restructuring of the wine sector. It includes a voluntary, three-year grubbing-up scheme to provide an alternative for uncompetitive producers and to remove surplus wine from the market. Subsidies for crisis distillation and potable alcohol distillation will be phased out and the money, allocated in national envelopes, can be used for measures like wine promotion on third country markets, restructuring and investment in modernisation of vineyards and cellars.
The reform will contribute to environmental protection in wine-growing
regions, safeguard traditional and well-established quality policies and
simplify labelling rules, for the benefit of producers and consumers alike.
The restrictive planting rights system will also be abolished at EU level
from 1 January 2016 onwards, with the possibility for Member States to keep
it until December 2018 if they so wish.
The European Commission has approved 16 programmes in 12 Member States
(Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Latvia, the
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) to provide information
on and to promote agricultural products in the European Union. The total
budget of the programmes running between one and three years is EUR 62.1
million, of which the EU will contribute EUR 27.8 million. The selected
programmes cover organic products, dairy products, meat, wine, fruit and
vegetables, olive oil, honey and flowers.
The European Commission will continue do all it can to support milk farmers and stabilise the dairy market.
In its dairy market situation report, published today, the Commission sets out the catalogue of measures available to help alleviate the very difficult market situation. The Commission will continue to use instruments such as intervention, private storage aid and export refunds. It will allow direct payments to farmers to be paid early and has just launched a new round of dairy promotion programmes.
Other potential measures include using levies on producers who exceed their quota to finance voluntary retirement from milk production, and the extension to farmers of the Temporary Crisis Framework for state aid. Member States also have the possibility to redistribute aid to the dairy sector under last year's Health Check agreement, while there are a number of possibilities to help milk farmers within Rural Development policy. The Commission is continuing its examination of potential anti-competitive practices in the food supply chain, especially the dairy sector.
In line with the conclusions of the June European Council, the Commission will not reverse decisions already taken on the quota system.
The Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC) launched two calls
for tenders for Better Training for Safer Food initiative (BTSF).
One of the calls invites tenderers to submit offers for organisation and implementation of training activities in the framework of BTSF mainly for the EU Member States.
The subject of the other call is organisation and implementation of training activities in food testing, and sanitary and phytosanitary issues for laboratory staff of third countries.
On 20 July 2009 the cycling celebrity, Miguel Induráin , showed his support for the EU Organic Logo Competition organised by the European Commission.
Miguel Indurain, famed for having won the Tour de France five
times in a row and also winning the Giro d'Italia twice, met the
competition's jury to choose the best logo submissions for the pan-European
event. Miguel Induráin, the son of a farmer, has had a lifetime to polish
his nutritional knowledge, and has personal experience of how this should be
applied in practice. His determined athletic spirit and strong feel for a
beneficial diet provided valuable help to the jury in deciding which logos
best represented organic products and which will be put forward to the final
stage of the competition.
Yesterday, Member States backed a European Commission proposal to extend
the private storage aid scheme for butter from 15 August 2009 until 28
February 2010. World market prices for dairy products have collapsed notably
due to a drop in demand in connection with the financial and economic
crisis. EU market prices for dairy products have fallen significantly. In
November 2008, the Commission reintroduced private storage for butter as a
first measure to help stabilise the dairy market. To date about 110,000
tonnes of butter are in private storage. The scheme normally ends on 15
August 2009. In view of the current and foreseeable market situation it is
necessary to extend the period until 28 February 2010. The proposal will now
be formally adopted by the Commission in the next few weeks.
As part of its ongoing efforts to help stabilise the European dairy
market, the European Commission has proposed to extend the period for buying
butter and skimmed milk powder into public intervention storage. Global milk
prices have fallen dramatically recently, mainly due to a drop in demand
linked to the financial and economic crisis. Since the start of this year,
the Commission has initiated aid for private storage of butter and
reintroduced export refunds for dairy products. Normally, intervention
buying is limited to 30,000 tonnes of butter and 109,000 tonnes of SMP and
is only open between 1 March and 31 August each year. The Commission has
already bought butter and SMP well beyond these limits (so far, 81,000
tonnes of butter and 203,000 tonnes of SMP). Now the Commission has proposed
to extend the period for intervention until the end of February 2010, and
proposed that it should be authorised, if the market situation so requires,
to extend it further until the end of February 2011. Purchases beyond the
normal limits are carried out through a tendering procedure.
The EU's food industry is not excluded from today's economic downturn. To give this important industry sector fresh impetus, European Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen and Commissioners Mariann Fischer Boel and Meglena Kuneva, today discussed with stakeholders the follow up to the recommendations of the High level Group, which were issued on 17 March 2009.
Today's stakeholder meeting agreed on a Roadmap of Key Initiatives that engages the European Commission, the participating Member States and the stakeholders to implement in the near future coordinated actions.
The European Commission has just published a report that reviews the
operation of the rice agreements concluded in 2004 and 2005 with Thailand,
India and Pakistan and the USA.
The report's purpose is to enable the impact of import flows of different types of rice onto the Community market to be assessed.
It concludes that the agreements have met their purpose, in that rice imports have only grown when needed to meet increased EU consumption. Contrary to earlier fears, the EU rice industry has not been undermined by any growth in imports of milled rice.
European Union rules governing the size and shape of many fruit and
vegetables will cease to exist tomorrow when specific marketing standards
for 26 types of fruit and vegetables are repealed. The Commission's
initiative to get rid of these standards is a major element in its ongoing
efforts to streamline and simplify EU rules and cut red tape. For 10 types
of fruit and vegetables, including apples, strawberries and tomatoes,
marketing standards will remain in place. But even for these 10, Member
States could for the first time allow shops to sell products that don't
respect the standards, as long as they are labelled to distinguish them from
'extra', 'class I' and 'class II' fruit. In other words, the new rules will
allow national authorities to permit the sale of all fruit and vegetables,
regardless of their size and shape.
Blog entry: "Dairy sector: keeping the ship steady but straight" (22/07/2009)
Blog entry: "3400 entries for the Organic logo" (20/07/2009)
"The EU wine reform" (CEEV Board meeting, Santorini, Greece, 08/07/2009)
"Milk crisis: no time for stalling" (29/06/2009)
European Evaluation Network for Rural Development: "Rural Evaluation News n°3, July 2009"
Brief July 2009: "The Medium-Term World Agricultural Outlook 2009: Calmer
after the storm?"
"Agricultural commodity markets - Outlook 2009-2018"
World agricultural commodity prices: "Historical price volatility"
Report from the Commission to the Council on the operation of the agreements concluded in the framework of the GATT Article XXVIII procedure in the rice sector
Applications for registration:
"Aceite Campo de Montiel": PDO (OJ C 162 - 15/07/2009, p. 17)
"Kiełbasa myśliwska": TSG (OJ C 160 - 14/07/2009, p. 12)
"Irpinia - Colline dell'Ufita": PDO (OJ C 160 - 14/07/2009, p. 19)
"Kiełbasa jałowcowa": TSG (OJ C 158 - 11/07/2009, p. 24)
"Farine de blé noir de Bretagne" or "Farine de blé noir de Bretagne - Gwinizh du Breizh": PGI (OJ C 157 - 10/07/2009, p. 14)
"Kabanosy": TSG (OJ C 156 - 07/07/2009, p. 27)
"Mela di Valtellina": PGI (OJ C 148 - 30/06/2009, p. 20)
"Nocciola Romana": PDO (OJ L 194 - 25/07/2009, p. 5)
"Brněnské pivo" or "Starobrněnské pivo": PGI (OJ L 192 - 24/07/2009, p. 11)
"Aceto Balsamico di Modena": PGI (OJ L 175 - 04/07/2009, p. 7)
"Pierekaczewnik": TSG (OJ L 168 - 30/06/2009, p. 22)
"Melton Mowbray Pork Pie": PGI (OJ L 168 - 30/06/2009, p. 20)
"Queso Manchego": PDO (OJ L
166 - 27/06/2009,
Important notice: This selection is not exhaustive. For a complete list of current calls for tenders please log on to Tenders electronic daily.
Study on end-user costs of compliance with EU
legislation in the fields of environment, animal welfare and food safety:
Contract notice and tender
documents [Deadline for submission: 16/10/2009]
Study on employment, growth and innovation in rural
Contract notice and tender
documents [Deadline for submission: 21/09/2009]
Study on implications of asynchronous GMO approvals
for imports of animal feed:
Contract notice and tender
documents [Deadline for submission: 11/09/2009]