Member states have all submitted a range of different ideas for providing support in the current agricultural crisis.
In the UK government paper, Defra minister George Eustice raises the issue of price hedging tools, and plans for a potential dairy futures market as well as a boost to transparency which it believes is required across the dairy supply chain.
The French government proposes a range of measures for farmers to voluntarily reduce milk production across Europe, while also creating a new ‘export tool’ – essentially a guarantee system for short term credit to help companies export agri-food products. The Italian government proposes a range of measures to strengthen the bargaining power of farmers in the supply chain, specifically in dairy but also in other sectors.
The Danish government solely focusses on trade issues with a push on reducing barriers to trade, boosting market access and urging the European Commission to speed up work on ongoing trade negotiations.
A compromise paper summarising the demands will be produced ahead of the meeting next week. The four presidents of the UK farming unions will meet the UK ministerial delegation on Monday prior to the Agriculture Council to highlight the concerns of the UK farming industry.
Dutch beef exports to resume to the US
After two decades the USA has lifted the ban on Dutch beef entering the US after classifying the risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) as ‘negligible’. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducted a final audit on the Dutch beef system in July 2015 which highlighted sanitation controls that fell below US standards.
The Dutch authorities took action to address and improve the system so that it was favourable for the US. The quantity of beef that will be exported from the Netherlands to the US is still unknown.
EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said: “I welcome this move as a sign of recognition for our comprehensive and effective measures to eradicate BSE in Europe.”
After Ireland and Lithuania, the Netherlands is the third EU country to gain access to the US market since the BSE-related ban. The opening of the US market to Dutch beef sends a positive signal to producers in other parts of the EU that are still waiting for the end of the disproportionately strict US trade restrictions.