Commission to present proposals to control production of animal feed

The case of the dioxin situation in Germany was at the centre of the agenda for ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries meeting in Brussels on 24 January at the first Council of the year. Although measures have been take carefully and German authorities have implemented the necessary controls, the European Commission has announced some legislative measures in order to avoid futures crises, and has warned about the effects of unilateral measures taken by states.

The German delegation briefed the Council about the present situation in Germany following the dioxin contamination of animal feed affecting the egg, poultry and pig sectors. Precautionary measures have been implemented and several measures were decided by the German government in order to avoid that such contamination would occur again in the food chain.

In view of this situation, the European Commission has announced the proposal of four specific actions targeting these situations affecting food chain. These measures would include a better registration of the establishments treating fats animal feed, an improved separation between areas treating fat for animal feed and other fats, a stronger monitoring and an obligation or report from the private laboratories performing dioxin analyses. As discussed over the Council meeting, most of the member states supported the measures proposed.

Further to the debate on the dioxin crisis, the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was also in the agenda, deepening the debate over Commission's communication on CAP after 2013 already discussed at November's Council. In this respect, all member states acknowledged the general objective to develop a sustainable management of the European agriculture in the reform and, although some delegations agreed with the Commission proposal to have the first pillar as the main element for the greening of the CAP, some others would prefer the environmental measures to be part of the second pillar and rural development.

Hungarian Presidency priorities on Agriculture and Fisheries policy

The first Council meeting of the year has also been the occasion for the Hungarian Presidency to present its priorities on agricultural policy, which will be mainly focused on the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP) towards 2020. As regards legislative initiatives, the Presidency intends to continue the work on the quality package and on the milk package including the proposal on the contractualisation in the milk sector. The follow-up of the alignment of the CAP legislation on the Lisbon Treaty will also constitute a highlight of the Presidency.

In the food, veterinary and forestry sectors the emphasis will be on the food information for consumers in the framework of the proposal on novel foods, the revision of blue tongue legislation and on honeybee health for which the Presidency will prepare conclusions. The presidency stressed the importance of drawing up of a policy framework for sustainable forest management throughout Europe.

The priorities for fisheries policy will focus on the reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP) for which legislative proposals will be tabled during this semester.