I will be representing the United Kingdom at this month’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels.
The presidency will seek political agreements on fixing fishing opportunities for certain deep-sea fish stocks for 2007 and 2008; measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea and on the electronic recording and reporting of fishing activities.
There will be an exchange of views on the Commission Communication implementing sustainability in EU fisheries through maximum sustainable yield.
The Fisheries Commissioner will give a progress report on his draft action plan for simplifying and improving the Common Fisheries Policy.
There will also be an exchange of views on a Commission Communication: “Halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010—and beyond”, structured around two questions posed by the presidency.
The Council will hold a policy debate on the reform proposal for support of banana production within the EU.
The Council will also hold a policy debate on a proposal to extend the existing energy crop support to new member states; to prolong the new member states simplified version of the single payment scheme (SAPS) until after 2008 and to make some technical corrections to the single payment legislation.
Under any other business, the Fisheries Commissioner will update the Council on the EU/Norway fisheries agreement to apply in 2007.
The Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner will give a presentation on genetically modified food and feed and provide an update to Council on avian influenza H5N1.
The Agriculture Commissioner will give a progress report on uptake in year one of the restructuring scheme for the sugar industry, agreed as part of the 2005 reform package.
Over lunch, Fisheries Ministers will discuss the simplification of the common fisheries policy.