The latest Brussels Briefing on Agriculture from AGRA FACTS journalists Rose O’Donovan and Ed Bray provides an update on the latest developments in the European Union’s farm policy.

The briefing examines the 2015 European Commission Work Programme:

  • Organic farm reform plans will be scrapped, if MEPs & Council do not strike a deal in six months
  • Overhaul of the school food schemes has been put on hold
  • Seed law set to be withdrawn
  • Future of the dairy & pig meat sectors: EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan called on farmers to reduce milk production to avoid superlevy penalties next year & showed openness to the idea of introducing private storage for pigmeat in January
  • Commission has approved the first wave of nine Rural Development programmes

The Video includes statements from Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development and the European Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans.

Main results of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council 

  • The Council adopted conclusions on the error rate for agriculture expenditure.
  • A large number of member states supported also Presidency conclusions for strengthening the EU policies for young farmers. The president of the Council underscored that “The young farmers issue has been identified as a key priority by the Italian Presidency. Generation replacement in agriculture is essential not only for Italy but for many other European countries, where the share of workers under 35 in the sector represent only an average of 8%. At today’s work session, the conclusions on the initiatives proposed by Italy have been adopted: the plan for access to credit with support from the European investment bank (EIB), for young people who want to start or have recently started a business, mortgages at zero interest and transfers of experiences between young European farmers with an exchange program. This constitute major investments to renovate the entire sector.”
  • Ministers had an exchange of views on the future of the dairy sector. In view of the recent deterioration of the dairy market conditions, they focused on the main challenges faced by this sector, in particular the importance of volatility and the tools to alleviate its consequences, the role of the European Milk Market Observatory (EMMO) and the consequences of the end of the milk quotas next year.
  • As regards organic farming, the Council had a political debate and took note of the document prepared by the Presidency and the large support for the annex providing a political orientation.