The Council reached three important political agreements for Europe's agriculture and fisheries sectors during the two-day Council in Luxembourg (19-20 October). Ministers agreed a general approach on the common agriculture policy (CAP) reform package, adopted conclusions on the farm to fork strategy and decided the fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2021.
Post 2020 CAP reform package
After a two-day negotiation session, ministers agreed a general approach on the post-2020 CAP reform package. The agreement highlights strong commitments from member states for higher environmental ambition by introducing instruments like mandatory eco-schemes (a novelty compared to the current policy) and enhanced conditionality. The agreed position also allows for member states to have the necessary flexibility in how they would reach environmental goals.
The Council has the political mandate now to kick-off negotiations with the European Parliament, (once the co-legislator also agrees on its internal position) with a view to reaching an overall agreement on the reform.
Farm to fork conclusions
On 19 October, the Council adopted unanimously a set of conclusions on the farm to fork strategy, endorsing the goal of developing a European sustainable food system, from production to consumption. The conclusions entail a two-fold political message from the member states: ensure sufficient and affordable food while contributing to EU climate neutrality by 2050 and ensuring a fair income and strong support for primary producers.
EU ministers reduce overall fishing quotas in the Baltic Sea for 2021
Infographic - Setting catch limits and quotas
The Council reached an agreement on the fishing opportunities for the ten most commercial fish stocks in the Baltic Sea for 2021. After a day-long negotiation which concluded in the early hours of 20 October 2020, ministers agreed to continue decreasing the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks to help them recover, in line with the latest scientific advice. The overall reduction in the total allowable catches (TACs) in the Baltic Sea was approximately 6%.
Other topics on the agenda
Ministers adopted a legislative act to postpone the application of the organic production and labelling of organic products by one year.
Ministers were also informed about:
-a Visegrad Group declaration on CAP and MFF
-a call from several member states to postpone the date of application of the animal health law
-a declaration from several member states concerning derogations of hygiene rules for local activities of slaughtering and processing
-a declaration from several member states on the need to adopt additional measures in the beef and veal sector as a consequence of the COVID 19 crisis
-19 October 2020