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EU Council Meeting Addresses Organic Farming Regulation

16 July 2014

EU - At the 3328th Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 14 July, participants discussed the strengthening of the regulatory framework for organic farming, the future of the milk sector and future fishing opportunities.

At the meetinng, the Presidency presented its work programme for the six months ahead and its priorities on agriculture and fisheries issues.

Maurizio Martina Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Affairs of Italy said: “Other than the legislative files, youth employment, measures for innovation and tackling the challenges of food security and trade issues will be the aim of the Italian Presidency. We will also work to prepare for EXPO Milan 2015, which will provide a unique opportunity for European agriculture, in terms of sustainability, innovation and food quality, as well as a global platform for discussion and comparison of policies, standards and best practices.”

The Presidency indicated that organic farming constitutes a priority in its work programme.

Mr Martina said: “It is important to strengthen the regulatory framework. As of today's debate, the Italian Presidency will take efforts to reach a general approach on this important dossier.”  The new rules proposed for organic production raised concerns for a number of delegations especially on the limited exemptions and on control systems in this Commission proposal. A number of delegations were opposed to an extended use of delegated acts.

The Council had a complex and deep debate on the future of the milk sector after the abolition of milk quota regime in 2015. The Council could not adopt conclusions on the future of the dairy sector due to the lack of a qualified majority. Therefore, the regulatory framework based on the 2008 political agreement on the end of the milk quota regime has been confirmed in the first Council chaired by Italy.

Ministers were briefed and held an exchange of views on a Commission communication on fishing opportunities for 2015. Most of the member states acknowledged the global improvement of the state of the fish resource. They also noted that the reformed CFP will have consequences on the fishing opportunities on which the Council will have to agree under Italian Presidency. Besides improving environmental protection, the new CFP will allow a better sustainable management of the resources and a better profitability for fishermen.

The Council also discussed about ICANN domain. The European Commission shared the concerns expressed by the Presidency and by some delegations on “.vin” and “.wine” internet domains on quality wine geographical indications. The Italian Presidency will closely follow the issue based on the input received by the Council.

Other items

The Council adopted a regulation establishing a single resolution mechanism (SRM) for failing banks. The creation of a SRM – with a central decision-making board and a single resolution fund – ensures that resolution decisions across participating member states will be taken in a coordinated and effective manner, minimising negative impacts on financial stability and reducing the dependence of banks on the creditworthiness of sovereigns.

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