January Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written statement – made on 8th February 2018.

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Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I represented the United Kingdom at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 29 January in Brussels.

Council began with a presentation by the Bulgarian Presidency, outlining its work programme until the end of June. This set out that discussion on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be prioritised in Agriculture and Fisheries Council; regular updates on EU agricultural markets will continue, along with a discussion of proposals for strengthening the position of farmers in the food supply chain; and items on a Spirit Drink Regulation, forestry, animal health and veterinary medicines will also feature.

The focus of this Council was an exchange of views on the Common Agricultural Policy post 2020. Member states displayed a variety of positions regarding the future direction of the CAP. The UK committed to working closely with EU colleagues in tackling shared challenges in farming policy, and signalled future efforts by the UK Government to bring together agriculture and environment policy, such as the 25 year Environment Plan for England.

The Council moved on to EU agriculture markets, and Commissioner Hogan gave an update on the sugar, dairy and pigmeat markets. Alongside this update, the French and Belgian delegations prompted a further discussion with their ideas for releasing EU stocks of Skimmed Milk Powder. The Polish delegation requested further discussion on the EU pigmeat market. Commissioner Hogan then updated the Council on December’s WTO Ministerial Conference and trade negotiations with Mercosur.

There were four further items discussed under ‘Any other business’:

  • the German delegation presented the conclusions of the Agriculture Ministers Conference 2018 in the context of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (Berlin, 20 January 2018)

  • the French delegation presented the conclusions from the Ministerial Conference on Xylella fastidiosa (Paris, 1 December 2017)

  • the German delegation presented conclusions from the high-level meeting on African swine fever (ASF) at the International Green Week (Berlin, 19 January 2018)

  • the Czech delegation highlighted the involvement of European research in eradicating African swine fever in the EU.

On 23 June 2016, the EU referendum took place and the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Until we leave the EU, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future once the UK has left the EU.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS449