Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Luxembourg on 15 October. The UK was represented by Katrina Williams, deputy permanent representative to the EU, and Rory O’Donnell, agriculture counsellor.
The main focus of the Council for fisheries was a regulation on fixing the fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2019, for which a political agreement was sought. Additional scientific advice for 2019 was presented and the deal received unanimous support from member states.
There was also an exchange of views on the EU-Norway annual consultation for 2019. The Commission highlighted the 2019 deadline for full implementation of the EU landing obligations and the 2020 deadline for all EU stocks to be fished at maximum sustainable yield. The UK mentioned the importance of maximising inward trades of fish species to help mitigate potential “choke” problems in the North Sea in 2019.
During an exchange of views on the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), some member states supported a move within ICCAT to progress the bluefin tuna recovery plan into a management plan. Commissioner Vella agreed with greater participation of small scale fishers but made it clear that the existing controls should remain in place.
For agriculture, the main item that was discussed was the progress report on the regulation on CAP strategic plans. Member states supported the new delivery model in principle but discussed making some of the requirements optional. In response, the Commission pointed out the importance of ensuring a level playing field.
The Commission debriefed Council on the G20 agricultural ministerial meeting that took place in July, highlighting that the conclusions reflected the EU’s position.
The presidency updated Council on the outcome of the informal process to identify a single EU candidate for the next Director General of the food and agriculture organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
A number of items were discussed under “any other business”:
The Italian delegation raised an item about the state of the European sugar market
The Spanish delegation informed Council of the upcoming electoral round for the Director General of the international organisation of vine and wine (OIV)
The Commission gave an update on the state of play with African swine fever (ASF). An informal ministerial meeting on ASF will be held in the margins of the AgriFish Council on 19 December.