The objectives of the EU policy instruments are to structure and safeguard the stability of market prices in the sector, to facilitate the marketing of products and to establish the rules in the trade with third countries, providing stability for the European producers and processors.
As from 1 July 2008, eggs and poultry meat legislation is integrated in the Single CMO [Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 of 22 October 2007 establishing a common organization of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products]. Under this Regulation the legislation applying to the eggs sector and poultry sector was simplified by repealing Regulations 2771/75 (Common Market Organisation for eggs), and 2777/75 (Common Market Organisation for poultry meat).
Rules on trade with third countries
Export of eggs is the issue of the export licences required by the Commission. The licences are delivered by each Member State to economic operators that intend to export eggs into a third country. On this basis the Commission can monitor the volume of animal products exported outside the EU. If needed, the Commission may suspend the export licences issuance to facilitate the adjustment of supply to EU requirements.
Export refunds may be granted on the basis of Export licences. Granting refunds for egg export is intended to enable exports when world market prices are lower than EU prices as a result of various economic factors (world price, EU price, feed price, currencies and market conditions). Export refunds rate is fixed at least quarterly.
Like the export licences, import licences are also a matter of monitoring the trade flows, and are an important tool in the management of the EU market of eggs.
Import of eggs for consumption from third countries is allowed under several conditions regarding animal welfare and food security.
Egg imports from third countries are subject to import duties, Common Customs Tariff duties normally apply to egg sector products. Through this tariff the EU ensures that its economic operators in the sector are able to face the competition on the internal market with third countries.
Common custom tariff duties
Quotas are allocated in accordance with the ''first come, first served'' and simultaneous examination methods.
Additional import duties
Additional import duties may be applied to the imports of eggs in order to prevent or to counterbalance the unfavourable effects on the EU market that can result from the trade. These duties apply if the imported products have a lower price than the level notified by the EU to the WTO or if the volume of imports exceeds the trigger volume.
Intervention: EU market support measures
Article 44 and 45 of the Single CMO Regulation state that the European Commission may adopt exceptional support measures, at the request of a Member State, when animal disease outbreaks and loss in consumer confidence threaten to disturb the EU market. These measures, 50% co-financed by the EU, are taken only if the Member State has taken the necessary measures to immediately supress the outbreak.
As provided under Article 186(b) of the Single CMO, when the prices on the EU market rise significantly and the situation is likely to continue threatening to disturb the market, the European Commission may take necessary measures to counteract this situation. In this case, EU financing is 100% of the expenditure on the measures.
Marketing standards applicable to the egg sector are designed to improve the quality of the products, to protect the consumer and to harmonize the internal market.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 589/2008 lays down detailed rules in order to apply the basic requirements of the Single CMO regulation which eggs must satisfy to be marketed in the EU, fixing general rules for:
- marking of eggs and packs,
- quality and weight grading,
- work of packing stations,
- packaging, storage, transport and
- presentation for retail sale of eggs.
Price reporting system
Under Commission Regulation (EC) No 546/2003 of 27 March 2003 each Member State must submit to the Commission, no later than 12.00 noon (Brussels time) each Thursday, the selling price in packing stations for eggs in class A from caged hens, being the average of categories L and M. The prices are expressed in national currency per 100 kg product.
The price reporting system is an important tool that reflects market developments and allows general trends in the egg sector to be assessed. It plays an important role in triggering the market support measures and providing quality-based payment to suppliers of live animal while maintaining price transparency.