Measures for milk, sugar, wine, fruit and vegetables 

 
 

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Sugar quotas

To enable beet growers to adapt to the far-reaching reform of the sugar sector adopted in 2006, Parliament and Council rejected Commission plans to phase out sugar quotas by the end of September 2015 and agreed to maintain the system until the end of September 2017. Member states who relinquished all their quotas in 2006 will not be able to get them back, says the provisionally agreed text.

MEPs also ensured that after sugar quotas are abolished, contracts between beet producers and processors should include price and quantities and further delivery details.

Wine planting rights

To preserve the reputation of quality EU wines, Parliament insisted that a system to regulate vine planting should be maintained until 2030.

The current system of vine planting rights should be replaced by a vine planting authorisation system, which could be launched as soon as in 2016, but the validity of original rights could be extended for another 3-5 years. Under the provisionally agreed rules, member states would have to make up to 1% of their total planted area available for new authorisations each year.

Programmes to support healthy eating habits

Strategies to improve children's eating habits, such as school fruit and vegetable schemes, should also promote local food producers and fight food waste, says the agreed text. The list of fruit and vegetables concerned should be drawn up by member states.

Voluntary coupled support for ailing sectors

Member states would be allowed to grant support linked with specific production where a specific sector, which is particularly important for economic, social or environmental reason, undergoes difficulties.

Member states could use up to 8% of their national budget for direct payments to finance this support. If a member state uses more than 5% of coupled aid in one year during the 2010-2014 period, the ceiling would increase to 13%. Member states who use more than 10% in one of the 2010-2014 years could apply for higher ceiling, to be approved by the Commission.

This ceiling could be increased by up to another two percentage points to be used by member state to support production of protein crops.

This aid should nevertheless be granted only to the extent necessary to maintain current level of production in the region concerned.

This aid coupling option could apply to cereals, oilseeds, protein crops, grain legumes, flax, hemp, rice, nuts, starch potato, milk and milk products, seeds, sheepmeat and goatmeat, beef and veal, olive oil, silk worms, dried fodder, hops, sugar beet, cane and chicory, fruit and vegetables and short-rotation coppice, says the agreed text. Nevertheless, MEPs insisted as a part of the deal that the Commission must issue a pledge (in the form of a written declaration) to take all available actions to help other ailing sectors if necessary in the event of a crisis.

Better crisis-management tools

To stabilise agricultural sectors in periods of severe market imbalances, the European Commission would be empowered, at Parliament's insistence, to allow certain exceptions to EU competition rules provided that they would not undermine the single market. Farmer organisations could thus use instruments such as private storage and promotional sales, withdraw their products from market, or jointly purchase inputs necessary to combat the spread of pests and animal diseases, but also temporarily plan their production.

The Council and Commission nevertheless rejected Parliament's proposal to grant aid for at least three months to milk producers who voluntarily cut their production at least by 5%. This measure was intended to complement other measures to ensure that the expiry of milk quotas would not lead to a serious crisis in the milk sector, like that of 2009.