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Agriculture Council, 26Th February

Volume 569: debated on Thursday 29 February 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the outcome of the Agriculture Council held in Brussels on 26th February.

The Council had a first discussion on the 1996 farm price proposals. The UK regretted that the Commission had not taken this opportunity to propose a move towards the more market orientated CAP which their recent report had recognised was inevitable for the longer term. In particular, the UK regretted the failure to address the over-compensation of the arable sector which resulted from high Community and world market prices for cereals and unchanged area payments.The Council also discussed Commission proposals on the use of hormones and so-called beta agonists in livestock farming. Most member states remain opposed to any use of hormones and, with few limited exceptions, beta agonists. The UK stressed the desirability of avoiding the adoption of a policy which would run serious risks of adverse judgments in the World Trade Organisation. However, this approach was supported only by Spain and the Netherlands. The President announced that he expected to take final decisions at the next meeting in March.The Commissioner outlined his proposals to improve the welfare of calves used for veal production. The UK welcomed the proposal but criticised the proposed 12-year transitional period as being much too long.