Discussion on CAP reform launched at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council
The EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council met in Brussels on 11–12 December to discuss the Commission Communication on the future Common Agricultural Policy and negotiate the fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea regions for 2018. Also on the agenda were the measures to combat African swine fever and to tackle unfair trading practices. The Finnish representative at the meeting was State Secretary Jari Partanen, deputising for the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.
The Member States heard Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen’s presentation on the Communication on the future of agriculture and the food sector and gave their preliminary comments on the matter. The Communication was published on 29 November, and it started the discussion on the next reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The Commission is expected to give the proposals for the new basic regulations concerning the Common Agricultural Policy in summer 2018, after the proposal for the multiannual financial framework to be published in May.
The Communication was considered to provide a good basis for future discussions and the ideas contained in it won wide support among the Member States. Finland and many other countries welcomed the idea of giving more powers to the Member States. The range of available measures should be broad enough to allow them to be adapted the local condition in different Member States. There is no desire to nationalise the Common Agricultural Policy or its funding, but the policy should continue to be pursued on the EU level. Finland also stressed the need for simplification, as well as securing the conditions for agricultural activities and viable rural areas in all regions of the Union.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council agreed on the fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea regions for 2018. For Finland the measures aimed at the recovery of the eel population are of particular interest. As an outcome of quite challenging negotiations the Council decided to oblige the Member States to restrict the commercial fishing of eel in marine waters for at least three months in autumn 2018. The Member States also undertook to introduce measures aimed to rebuild the eel population in inland waters.
The other topics discussed included measures to combat African swine fever, which is a high priority for the Commission and Member States, and tackling unfair trading practices, where common regulation on the EU-level may be needed. The Commission is expected to give a legislative proposal on the latter in spring 2018.
Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Kari Valonen, Head of EU Coordination and International Affairs, tel. +358 295 162 269
Risto Lampinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser for Fisheries, tel. 358 295 162 458