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  • Greater market transparency to better cope with market turbulences 
  • Boosting efforts to tackle price drops and avoid bankruptcy 
  • Expanding market safety net by extending public intervention to new sectors  
  • Extending vine planting authorisation system, adding nutrition info to wine labels  

The Agriculture Committee approved the first batch of proposals to improve EU farm policy so that it better meets farmers’ and consumers’ expectations.

The first vote on CAP reform focussed on the new EU rules for common market organisation (CMO) in agricultural products after 2020. The Agriculture Committee’s amendments to the so-called CMO regulation were approved on Monday by 29 votes in favour to seven against, with one abstentions.


Extending supply management and volume reduction scheme to all sectors


The current scheme, which grants aid to dairy farmers who voluntarily produce less in times of severe market imbalances in an effort to stabilise prices, should be extended to all sectors, MEPs believe. If the situation does not improve, the Commission should be tasked with imposing a levy on all producers who increase their deliveries, says the adopted text.


MEPs also want to extend current rules, which allow time-limited regulation of supply of geographically protected cheeses, hams and wines, to all other products that benefit from protected geographical indication (PGI) or protected designation of origin (PDO).


More transparency, better crisis management, wider safety net


To improve market transparency and be thus better prepared for potential market turbulence, MEPs suggest setting up a single EU observatory for agricultural markets, that would focus on a wide range of sectors, including cereals, sugar, olive oil, fruits and vegetables, wine, milk and meat. The observatory should collect statistical data on production, supply, prices, profits, imports and exports, and issue early market disturbance warnings, they say.


MEPs also want to widen the market safety net by allowing public intervention (a market management tool used when prices drop beyond a certain level) for new products, such as white sugar, sheep meat, pig meat and chicken.


Sustainability-related exceptions from competition rules


The EU competition rules should not apply to vertical agreements and concerted practices aimed at applying higher environmental, animal health or animal welfare standards than the ones prescribed by EU or national laws, says the approved text. Such practices should be allowed only if advantages they bring to the public outweigh the disadvantages, MEPs say.


Tougher controls of geographically protected products


MEPs endorsed proposed provisions to ensure that national authorities tackle unlawful use of protected designations of origin, geographical indications and traditional terms (PDOs, PGIs and TSGs). They insist that controls to verify compliance with products specifications should be of administrative nature, but also on-the-spot checks.


Wine: Planting authorisations, labelling and de-alcoholised products


Vine plantings authorisation scheme, set up in 2016 until the end of 2030, should be prolonged until 2050, MEPs say. They want the Commission to review its functioning in 2023 and every ten years thereafter and if need be come up with proposals to improve its effectiveness.


Wine labels should include the product’s nutrition declaration, or at least its energy value, and the list of ingredients, or the direct link to where the list can be found, says the approved text.


MEPs endorsed Commission’s proposal to include de-alcoholised wines in the grapevine products category but insisted they should not benefit from the PDO, PGI and TSG protection.


MEPs rejected proposals to introduce Vitis labrusca species into EU wine production and refused to lift the ban on six vine varieties: Noah, Othello, Isabelle, Jacquez, Clinton and Herbemont. They say, however, that member states could authorise replanting of Vitis Labrusca or these varieties in existing historical vineyards if planted surfaces do not increase.


Quote


“While farmers are facing significant income problems related to price volatility and the downstream concentration, the Commission proposed only very limited administrative reform, not reacting adequately to these problems. My goal is to create effective mechanisms to prevent and better manage agricultural crises, to effectively respond to price volatility, and to make sure farmers can benefit from a fairer and more stable income, which would allow them to invest more in the ecological transition that consumers are asking for. Like the EU, the CAP must be reformed to better respond to future challenges”, said rapporteur Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR).


Next steps


The text approved by Agriculture Committee MEPs has to be scrutinised by the Parliament as a whole. This can happen only after the 23-26 May European elections. The Conference of Presidents (EP president and leaders of political groups) may decide then to forward the text to the full House. Otherwise, the new Agriculture Committee will have to look into the matter again.



Type of document: Regulation