20 May 2010
The European Parliament recently voted on a resolution ("Ashworth Report") making recommendations regarding the simplification of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy. This report does not constitute a legislative act. In the report recommendations were included regarding the traceability of sheep through electronic tagging (EID). The legislation regarding EID has just come into force on 1 January 2010, after a lengthy and extended transition period, during which governments and farmers throughout Europe were able to prepare for the introduction of this new legislation, already approved by the EU Council of Ministers (including the UK Government) back in 2003. The Welsh Assembly Government undertook extensive preparations for the introduction of this legislation during 2009.
Since the Ashworth Report is a recommendation by the European Parliament, it does not change the current legislation in place regarding traceability of sheep, which foresees the introduction of electronic identification following a step-by-step approach from 1 January 2010 onwards, up to the end of 2012. Detailed information about EID legislation can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/identification/ovine/electronic_id_en.htm
The European Commission expects to present a Communication on the future direction of the Common Agricultural Policy sometime before the end of this year. Currently, the European Commission has opened a public debate to gather input and ideas regarding the future of the CAP, not only from farmers and stakeholders, but also from the broader public. See http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-post-2013/debate/index_en.htm . The recommendations of the Ashworth Report fit into this context, however, all current legislation remains valid and will continue to be implemented by governments in the European Union Member States.