I represented the United Kingdom at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 9 October in Luxembourg.
The Council opened with an exchange of views on Baltic Sea fishing opportunities. Council agreed to consider EU-wide issues surrounding fishing for eels at the December Agriculture and Fisheries Council, and catch quotas in the Baltic Sea were agreed.
The Council discussed EU-Norway annual fishing consultations for 2018, and there was widespread support for the Commission’s aim to seek a balanced deal with Norway. The UK raised the issue of overreliance on EU stocks, such as blue whiting, in previous agreements on the exchange of fishing opportunities with Norway.
An exchange of views was held ahead of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) meeting on 14 November in Marrakech.
The Council discussed the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Member states supported the sustainable development goals and the role of agriculture in achieving them, but agreed on the importance of exploring vehicles other than the Common Agricultural Policy to achieve the goals.
The Commission gave a presentation updating Council on the market situation in EU agricultural sectors. The Council then discussed the ongoing trade negotiations with Mercosur countries. The UK, alongside several other member states, struck a supportive tone, welcoming progress on the trade agenda while recognising the need to be cautious on certain sectors.
A number of other items were discussed under “any other business”:
The Commission updated Council on the implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
Commissioner Andriukaitus gave a read out of the recent Fipronil conference in Brussels.
The German delegation drew the Council’s attention to the importance of the financing of the EU minor use co-ordination facility (EUMUCF).
The Hungarian and Lithuanian delegations presented the joint declaration of Visegrad group, and the Latvia and Lithuania from the Baltic states on the prospects of the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy.
The Austrian delegation informed Council on farming in the Alps.
The Spanish delegation updated Council on the proceedings opened by the US authorities against the import of black table olives from Spain.
The Maltese delegation presented the conclusions of the 41st conference of directors of EU paying agencies.
The Maltese delegation presented the conclusions of the informal meeting of directors for rural development.
The German delegation presented to Council on sustainable and deforestation free supply chains.
On 23 June 2016, the EU referendum took place and the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Until exit negotiations are concluded, 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.