The next Agriculture and Fisheries Council is on Monday 14 November, in Brussels. I shall represent the UK on agriculture matters, accompanied by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State. The Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs responsible for environment and fisheries my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Richard Benyon) will be representing the United Kingdom on the fisheries items. Richard Lochhead MSP, Michelle O’Neill MLA and Alun Davies AM will also attend.
The Council meeting will open in its fisheries formation with a discussion of the only substantive fisheries agenda item on external aspects of the proposals for common fisheries policy (CFP) reform. The debate will focus on engagement with regional fisheries management organisations and the EU’s external fisheries agreements.
On agricultural business, there is one item on the main agenda: discussion of the common agricultural policy reform proposal on direct payments. The presidency has posed questions about the overall structure of the direct payments proposals and explicitly on the proposed reallocations between member states.
There are four items under any other business. The first is an update from the Commission on compliance with the welfare of laying hens directive. It is not clear how much discussion is expected on this item. The second and third AoB items will see the presidency reports back on two recent forestry meetings (the forestry for climate and biodiversity conference and EU forestry and nature DGs meeting) and on the regular meeting of paying agency heads. And finally there is a request from the Hungarian presidency to discuss the prolongation of sugar regime to 2020.
Finally, there is a ministerial lunch scheduled during which heads of member state delegations will discuss the greening aspects of the CAP reform proposals.