The Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Brussels on 28 January. The UK was represented by Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and Lords Minister.
The lead issue on the agriculture-focused agenda was the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform post-2020, divided into two table rounds. The first round focused on strategic plans and horizontal regulations, detailing the changes to streamline the new delivery model, as well as the agricultural reserve. Member states broadly supported the call for the pillar two budget to be maintained, including a proposal which will allow a 35% deviation from annual milestones, among other things.
In the second debate, the Commission’s proposal to lift the ban on vitis labrusca and six forbidden grape varieties was debated. The majority of wine producing member states rejected the proposal on quality and reputational grounds. Commissioner Hogan then gave a presentation on green architecture which focused on member states’ objectives to achieve high-level climate ambitions.
Commissioner Hogan also introduced the non-legislative debate on supporting the growth of plant protein in the EU, setting out a wide range of proposed measures from the Commission’s plan. A declaration, calling for measures to be brought together in an EU-wide action plan was supported by a number of member states.
A number of other items were discussed under “any other business”:
Commissioner Andriukaitis provided an update from the ministerial conference on African swine fever (ASF) held in December 2018.
Slovakia presented their request for an update on the dual quality food issue.
Denmark informed Council about their new international centre for antimicrobial resistance solutions (ICARS). The UK expressed its support, highlighting the new five-year national AMR action plan and the chief medical officer’s recent visit to Copenhagen.