Agriculture News Digest
No. 201 - 21 December 2009Agriculture on Europa


Statement by Commissioner Fischer Boel on provisional farm income figures for 2009


"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."


Commission proposes measures to ensure that Greek farmers can receive EU support payments

18/12/2009Also available in:
DE | EL | FR

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.


Organic farming

Expert group for technical advice on organic production: Commission publishes call for applications


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


Negotiations between the EU and Morocco in the agri-food and fisheries sector: signature of agreed minutes

17/12/2009Also available in:
DE | EL | ES | FR | IT | PT

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).


Conclusion of negotiations between the European Union and Switzerland on the protection of geographical indications

17/12/2009 Also available in:
BG | CS | DA | DE | ET | EL | ES | FR | IT | LV | LT | HU | MT | NL | PL | PT | RO | SK | SL | FI | SV

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.


Rural Development policy 2007-2013

Rural development: vote on latest modifications of rural development programmes to address new challenges

16/12/2009 Also available in:
BG | DE | EL | ES | FR | IT | PT | RO | SK | FI | SV

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.


Ending the longest trade dispute in history: EU initials deal on bananas with Latin American countries

15/12/2009 Also available in:
DE | FR | PT

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.


State aid

State aid: Commission bans agricultural support measures implemented by Spain following increase in fuel prices

15/12/2009 Also available in:
DE | ES | FR

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.


EU agricultural policy perspectives

Commission launches new series to analyse the CAP


The European Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development has launched a new product, "Agricultural Policy Perspectives" Briefs. 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 Policy.

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


Organic farming

Commission launches on-line vote for the new EU Organic Logo

07/12/2009 Also available in:
BG | CS | DA | DE | ET | EL | ES | FR | IT | LV | LT | HU | MT | NL | PL | PT | RO | SK | SL | FI | SV

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 online vote 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 labelling standards.


Milk and milk products

Milk: Agreement reached on distribution of additional EUR 300 million for dairy farmers


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 29.26.


The Tasty Bunch

EU Healthy Eating Campaign "The Tasty Bunch": The road shows draw to an end, but the campaign marches on

04/12/2009 Also available in:
BG | CS | DA | DE | ET | EL | ES | FR | IT | LV | LT | HU | MT | NL | PL | PT | RO | SK | SL | FI | SV

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 it" campaign.


State aid: Commission temporarily authorises France to grant limited amounts of aid of up to EUR 15,000 to farmers

02/12/2009 Also available in:

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.


Commissioner Fischer Boel's website

Commissioner Fischer Boel: Speeches and blog entries

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)

Blog entry: "Mission accomplished" (10/11/2009)



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

MAP 03/2009: "Ukraine’s Agriculture: Harvesting the potential?"

"Peak performance: New Insights into Mountain Farming in the European Union" (Commission staff working document): Text [pdf] Annexes [pdf, 2 MB]

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]


EU agricultural product quality policy: PDO, PGI or TSG

Registration as PDO, PGI or TSG

For information on applications for registration as well as registrations please consult DOOR - the Database of Origin and Registration