"I note with great concern that
provisional figures for farm incomes per worker in 2009 show a decline of
12.2 percent across the EU as a whole. Clearly, the economic crisis has
had a very serious effect on our farmers, with lower demand and relatively
high production costs.
This situation highlights more clearly than ever the need for a strong, modern and effective Common Agricultural Policy. Direct payments provide a basic level of income for farmers, cushioning them from price fluctuations. They still have a crucial role to play, representing roughly a third of farm income in the EU. Market measures can act as a real safety net in times of difficulty. The rapid actions taken by the Commission during the recent dairy crisis are a perfect illustration of what the CAP can provide when necessary. Rural Development measures can also help, particularly when they are linked to restructuring or promote services like environmental protection which are not remunerated through the market.
The Commission will continue to be vigilant and will not hesitate to do all it can to help the farming sector. Looking ahead, we will continue to insist on the need for a modern CAP which can meet the multiple challenges faced by our rural areas in the 21st century."
Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural
Development, today put forward a plan to ensure that Greece will put in
place the systems necessary to allow EU aid payments to be made to farmers.
Greece has informed the Commission of the problems it faces because the late
introduction of payment applications by farmers though their farmers unions
makes it impossible to pay out the 2009 direct aids. The problems are caused
by delays in the introduction of the precise location of the individual
agricultural parcels into the new Land Parcel Identification System, used
for the first time in Greece this year (digitalisation of the parcels). As
payments can only start when all controls have been done, including
cross-checks for which digitalisation has to be finalised, it is vital that
a firm date is fixed after which the introduction of payment applications by
farmers will no longer be accepted. In order to help Greek farmers,
Commissioner Fischer Boel is ready to propose to the Commission the fixing
of an exceptional extra period for introducing these parcel locations. The
final firm date proposed is 31 January, 2010. Parcels not digitalised by
that date will be excluded from any payments for the year 2009.
The European Action plan for organic food and farming foresees the
setting-up of a group of experts for technical advice. The expert group will
ensure an easy access to highly qualified technical expertise in a wide
range of fields related to organic production.
With a view to select the relevant experts, a call for applications has been published today in the Official Journal C 308, page 22. Applications must be submitted not later than Friday 12 February 2010.
More information and forms for download
The Moroccan and EU negotiators signed an agreed minute concluding
negotiations that have been ongoing for almost four years in view of a
future agreement on improving bilateral trade conditions for products from
the agri-food and fisheries sector. The conclusion of the negotiations is
subject to the approval of the respective authorities. In particular, the
agreement will reinforce the position of European exporters on the Moroccan
market, particularly exporters of processed agricultural products,
representing a major offensive interest for the EU with full liberalisation
planned in stages over the next ten years, with the exception of pasta, for
which a quantitative restriction is provided. In the agricultural products
sector, the agreement will allow for the immediate liberalisation of 45% of
the value of EU exports and 70% in ten years. The tinned food, dairy
products, oilseeds and fruit and vegetable sector will benefit fully from
total liberalisation. The fisheries sector will also be opened up for EU
products (91% after five years and 100% in 10 years).
On 11 December 2009, the European Union and Switzerland concluded negotiations on a bilateral agreement for the protection of their respective Geographical Indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs. After finalisation of the preliminary procedures, the draft agreement will protect the Geographical Indications of each of the two parties on the territory of the other.
The Rural Development Committee has voted on a third wave of proposals
from Member States/regions for using EU Recovery Plan, CAP Health Check
funding and other transfers within the CAP to address issues including the
economic and dairy crisis and climate change. This closes a very intensive
cycle of negotiations between the Commission and Member States and gives the
green light for the rapid injection of an additional amount of about EUR 4.6
billion into the economy of rural areas and agriculture in 2009.
Meeting at the WTO in Geneva, ambassadors from the EU and Latin American
countries today agreed to end a 15-year dispute over EU banana imports. In
the deal, seen as a boost for the Doha Round of world trade talks, the EU
will gradually cut its import tariff on bananas from Latin America from EUR
176 per tonne to EUR 114. In response, the US has agreed to settle its
related dispute with the EU. The EU has also offered to mobilise up to EUR
200 million for the main African and Caribbean banana-exporting countries to
help them adjust to stiffer competition from Latin America.
Following the Court's annulment of Decision 2003/293/EC, the Commission
has adopted a new decision on the agricultural support measures implemented
by Spain following the increase in fuel prices. The Commission has declared
those measures to be incompatible with the internal market under Article
107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The European Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural
Development has launched a new product, "Agricultural Policy Perspectives"
The Briefs will discuss policy aspects of the CAP from an analytical angle,
linking this to the discussions on the future of the Common Agricultural
The first Brief, published today, covers the development of the CAP over the last two decades and considers the current position of the policy following recent reforms and how this will influence future policy changes. This first Brief will be followed by more in-depth Briefs focusing on different policy areas, such as direct payments, market support, and rural development.
Read APP Brief No. 1
Starting today, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for
Agriculture and Rural Development invites all Europeans to cast their vote
in the final stage of the EU organic logo competition. The Organic Farming
website will host the
where the three final logos will be displayed until 31 January. The new logo
aims to enhance consumer protection and promote organic farming. Unlike the
current logo, the winning entry will be obligatory for all pre-packaged
organic products that derive from the 27 Member States and meet the
Member States voted yesterday in favour of a Commission proposal to divide up an additional EUR 300 million in aid for EU dairy farmers. The money will be distributed according to production within quota in the 2008/09 milk production season (April 2008-March 2009). The money will have to be allocated to individual farmers who are severely affected by the low dairy prices of this summer and who encounter liquidity problems. Member States will have to communicate before the end of February the objective criteria they will use to allocate the money to individual farmers. The money has to be paid before the end of June 2010.
The money is divided up as follows (in million EUR): BE 7.21, BG 1.84, CZ
5.79, DK 9.86, DE 61.20, EE 1.30, IE 11.50, EL 1.58, ES 12.79, FR 51.13, IT
23.03, CY 0.32, LV 1.45, LT 3.10, LU 0.60, HU 3.57, MT 0.08, NL 24.59, AT
6.05, PL 20.21, PT 4.08, RO 5.01, SL 1.14, SK 2.03, FI 4.83, SE 6.43, UK
The EU Healthy Eating Campaign, "The Tasty Bunch", visited 173 schools
across Europe as road show busses brought quizzes and games into the
playground to tell kids about the need to make wise food choices.
Approximately 17,000 kids took part in the road shows which ran until the
end of November, learning about the benefits of fruit, vegetables and dairy
products. Thousands more are learning from
"The Tasty Bunch"
interactive website, now the focal point of the "Eat it, Drink it, Move
The European Commission authorised today a French scheme of an
approximate budget of EUR 700 million which aims at supporting farmers who
encounter difficulties as a result of the current economic crisis. Aid under
this new scheme can be granted until 31 December 2010 and will take the form
of direct grants, interest rate subsidies, subsidised loans as well as aid
towards the payment of social security contributions. The French scheme is
an application of the amendment to the Commission's Temporary framework for
State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and
economic crisis, which introduced the possibility of granting limited
amounts of aid to primary agricultural producers.
Statement on provisional farm income figures for 2009 (Brussels, 18/12/2009)
Blog entry: "The vote is open!" (08/12/2009)
"New insights into mountain farming" (Conference on Mountain Farming, Alpbach, Austria, 07/12/2009)
"A strong CAP to face the challenges of the future" (Swedish Farmers' conference on CAP, Stockholm, 25/11/2009)
"Improving Global Governance for Food Security" (World Summit on Food Security – Round Table discussion on Global Governance, Rome, 17/11/2009)
"The future of the CAP after 2013" (Workshop 'The Future of the Common Agriculture Policy after 2013' at the EP Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Brussels, 10/11/2009)
APP Brief No. 1: "The CAP in perspective: from market intervention to policy innovation" [pdf]
World agricultural commodity prices - November udate [pdf]
EU agricultural commodity and food prices - November udate [pdf]
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