Commissioner Phil Hogan has today confirmed the establishment of a new series of workshops to examine the future of the EU sheep sector. This forum will reflect on the future development of the sheep sector in the EU in the context of stagnant consumption. Chaired by Mr John Bryan, a producer representative and former President of the Irish Farmers' Association, the workshops will involve key economic players from the public and private sectors, including representatives from the production, processing and trade parts of the sheepmeat industry as well as representatives from those Member States which have a significant sheepmeat industry.
Preparatory work will commence later this month ahead of the first meeting in mid-November, which will take the form of a stock-taking exercise, seeking to identify the main perspectives and challenges of the EU sheep sector in terms of production, competitiveness and marketing. It will also focus on the economic, social and environmental sustainability of sheep production. Two further workshops are foreseen next year to be based around specific themes and will involve presentations by independent experts, which will help to guide the discussions and considerations of the group. The forum has been asked to draft a final report in mid-2016 with recommendations relating to the future of the EU sheep sector.
Background on sheepmeat sector
The EU sheep flock is roughly 85 million head, and annual production is approximately 710 000 tonnes carcass weight. There is significant sheepmeat production in 13 Member States (BG, DE, EL, ES, FR, HU, IE, IT, NL, PT, RO, SE, UK), with more than two-thirds of EU production concentrated in 4 Member States (UK, ES, EL & FR) and a further 20% in RO, IE, DE & IT. See http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/sheep-goats/index_en.htm for more details