Procedure : 2007/0095(CNS)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0461/2007

Texts tabled :

A6-0461/2007

Debates :

PV 11/12/2007 - 20
CRE 11/12/2007 - 20

Votes :

PV 12/12/2007 - 3.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2007)0605

REPORT     *
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23.11.2007
PE 390.711v02-00 A6-0461/2007

on the proposal for a Council regulation on information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries

(COM(2007)0268 – C6‑0203/2007 – 2007/0095(CNS))

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

Rapporteur: Bogdan Golik

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 PROCEDURE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a Council regulation on information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries

(COM(2007)0268 – C6‑0203/2007 – 2007/0095(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2007)0268),

–   having regard to Articles 36 and 37 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6‑0203/2007),

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A6‑0461/2007),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty;

3.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to amend the Commission proposal substantially;

5.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.

Text proposed by the Commission  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

Recital 2

(2) Taking account of experience gained, the prospects for market development both within and outside the EU and the new international trade situation, it is appropriate to develop an overall, coherent information and promotion policy for agricultural products and their method of production as well as for food products based on agricultural products, on the internal market and on third country markets, without encouraging the consumption of any product on grounds of its specific origins. In the interests of clarity, Regulations (EC) Nos 2702/1999 and 2826/2000 should therefore be repealed and replaced by a single regulation, whilst maintaining the specific features of measures according to the market in which they are implemented.

(2) Taking account of experience gained, the prospects for market development both within and outside the EU and the new international trade situation, it is appropriate to develop an overall, coherent information and promotion policy for agricultural products and their method of production as well as for food products based on agricultural products, on the internal market and on third country markets, without encouraging the consumption of any product on grounds of its specific origins. In the interests of clarity, Regulations (EC) Nos 2702/1999 and 2826/2000 should therefore be repealed and replaced by a single regulation the provisions of which could subsequently be incorporated into Council Regulation (EC) No .../... of ... establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products 1, whilst maintaining the specific features of measures according to the market in which they are implemented.

_______________________

1 Proposal for a Council regulation (COM(2006)0822).

Justification

The inclusion of the promotion measure in the framework of the single CMO regulation would be in line with the simplification process and would lead to the transparency of all the market instruments available for the operators, market management mechanisms and promotion possibilities.

Amendment 2

Recital 4

(4) Criteria should be set for selecting the products, sectors, themes and markets concerned by the Community programmes.

(4) Criteria should be set for selecting themes, markets and potential export opportunities concerned by the Community programmes, particularly with regard to those carried out in third countries.

Justification

The criteria applied in the proposal for a Regulation should not serve as the basis for excluding any products or sectors from the promotion scheme but should lead to choosing best export opportunities and themes of information campaigns on third markets.

Amendment 3

Recital 5 a (new)

(5a) Information and promotion measures should include and reflect in the best possible way the attributes of the European production model - the richness, variety and tradition of the Community's agri-foodstuffs culture.

Justification

The aim is to raise the profile of Community production, especially in the context of generic promotion, and to show not only its richness and variety but also its quality.

Amendment 4

Recital 6

(6) The measures should be implemented within the framework of information and promotion programmes. To ensure the consistency and effectiveness of programmes to be carried out on the internal market, guidelines for each product or sector concerned, setting out the essential elements of the programme, should be defined.

(6) The measures should be implemented within the framework of information and promotion programmes. To ensure the consistency and effectiveness of programmes to be carried out on the internal market, guidelines for each sector, setting out the essential elements of the programme, should be defined.

Justification

The inclusion of all the sectors in the promotion scheme would not require separate guidelines for each product. This would lead towards less administrative burden and better simplification impact. At the same time, it would guarantee that all the products and sectors are covered by unified and equally applied rules contained in the guidelines.

Amendment 5

Recital 6 a (new)

(6a) The Community nature of these programmes should mean that priority is given to proposals involving several Member States and carried out on third country markets. Similarly, multi-product programmes should receive special consideration, since they entail a higher return on the public resources invested. In addition, the Commission should promote collaboration with the Member States on measures that it launches on its own initiative, thereby increasing Community added value.

Justification

It would be interesting if the Commission also worked with the Member States on its own programmes in order to increase Community added value.

Amendment 6

Recital 7 a (new)

(7a) It would be appropriate to devise and include in the programmes information and support measures for the professional organisations taking part in them.

Justification

In view of the administrative complexity of certain programmes, not only are these measures necessary, but they would make it possible to work with greater legal certainty.

Amendment 7

Recital 11 a (new)

(11a) In view of the rapid process of internationalisation to which the Community agri-foodstuffs industry is subject, it would be appropriate to provide for flexible application of the promotion and information instruments, and to make the legislative amendments needed in the light of the experience acquired since 1999.

Justification

It is important that programmes should be more flexible in order to leave the way open for a more profound reform based on the experience accumulated during all the years that the programmes have been in operation.

Amendment 8

Recital 11 b (new)

(11b) Bearing in mind that, especially in third countries, the promotional measures introduced should foster access to European products for consumers, and also bearing in mind that the organisations co-finance a substantial percentage of the programmes, the participating proposing organisations should be able to present their products at commercial events, such as trade and other fairs, in order to show the richness, quality and variety of the Community products available.

Justification

Since the organisations co-finance a substantial proportion of the programmes, it is important that they should somehow be able to participate with their products in promotional programmes and that the promotion should not all be merely generic.

Amendment 9

Article 2, paragraph 1, point d a (new)

(da) stepping up information and promotion measures for fruit and vegetable products.

Justification

According to recital 23 of the European Parliament's legislative resolution of 7 June 2007 on the proposal for a Council Regulation establishing specific provisions for the fruit and vegetable sector and amending certain Regulations (COM(2007)0017 – C6-0075/2007 – 2007/0012(CNS)) the Commission should amend Council Regulation (EC)No 2702/1999 of 14 December 1999 on measures to provide information on, and to promote, agricultural products in third countries, in order to step up information and promotion measures for fruit and vegetable products .

Amendment 10

Article 3, paragraph 1, introductory part

1. The sectors and products which may be covered by the measures referred to in Article 1(1) to be implemented on the internal market shall be determined with regard to the following criteria:

1. Measures referred to in Article 1(1) to be implemented on the internal market shall refer in particular to the following criteria:

Justification

As regards the measures to be implemented on the internal market, there should be no restriction as to the range of products or sectors covered by promotion campaigns. Otherwise, there might be a risk of distortion of competition.

Amendment 11

Article 3, paragraph 1, point a a (new)

(aa) the need to emphasise the numerous advantages of regional and local products for the environment and the labour market;

Justification

Local or regional markets can, in almost all regions, cover most basic food needs. The purchase of regional products helps to ensure that fewer transport networks are needed and that there is better understanding between consumers and farmers, as well as maintaining added value in the countryside, thereby preserving and even creating jobs there.

Amendment 12

Article 4, paragraph 1

The Commission shall draw up, according to the procedure referred to in Article 16(2), lists of the themes and products under Article 3 and the third countries concerned. These lists shall be revised every two years. If necessary the lists may be amended in the interval through the same procedure.

The Commission shall draw up, according to the procedure referred to in Article 16(2a), lists of the themes under Article 3 and the third countries concerned. In the case of third countries, the Commission shall draw up, according to the procedure referred to in Article 16(2a), a Community strategic list for potential export opportunities, taking into account the results of the measures implemented in accordance with Article 10, in particular with regard to studies of new markets and high-level trade visits. These lists shall be revised yearly. If necessary the lists may be amended in the interval through the same procedure, with particular reference to Article 3(1)(c).

Justification

The measures carried out at the Commission’s own initiative might be a very useful tool for setting the target countries for Community’s exports. Thus, the external trade policy carried out by the Commission within its exclusive competences might be directly transposed into the operators’ capacity of extending their scope of market activity.

Amendment 13

Article 5, paragraph 1, subparagraph 1

1. For promotion on the internal market, the Commission shall, in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 16(2), adopt a strategy defining guidelines for all eligible sectors or products to which proposals for information and promotion programmes must conform.

1. For promotion on the internal market, the Commission shall, in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 16(2), adopt a strategy defining guidelines for all eligible sectors to which proposals for information and promotion programmes must conform.

Justification

See justification to Recital 6.

Amendment 14

Article 5, paragraph 2

2. For promotion on third-country markets, the Commission shall, in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 16(2), adopt a strategy defining guidelines for some or all products referred to in Article 3(2) to which proposals for information and promotion programmes must conform.

2. For promotion on third-country markets, the Commission shall, in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 16(2a), adopt a strategy defining guidelines for all products referred to in Article 3(2) to which proposals for information and promotion programmes must conform.

Justification

The adoption of guidelines for products promoted on third countries markets contains certain aspects of political importance and nature. Thus, there should be more emphasis added on the Member States’ role in the legislative process of adopting the guidelines.

Amendment 15

Article 7, paragraph 1, subparagraph 1

1. Member States shall define the specifications setting the conditions and evaluation criteria for information and promotion measures.

1. The Commission shall define the specifications setting the conditions and evaluation criteria for information and promotion measures.

Justification

The European Commission shall establish detailed criteria concerning the selection of programmes by Member States. Such criteria will help the Member States with taking decisions on approval or rejection of submitted programmes. This change should also guarantee more transparency and clarity about the process of selecting the programmes and should give the operators the right to see the real reasons for their projects not being accepted.

Amendment 16

Article 8, paragraph 1

1. The Commission shall decide, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 16(2) which programmes are to be selected and the corresponding budgets. Priority shall be given to the programmes proposed by several Member States or providing for measures in several Member States or third countries.

1. The Commission shall decide, in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 16(2) which programmes are to be selected and the corresponding budgets. Priority shall be given only to the programmes carried out on third country markets and within these measures particularly to programmes that are proposed by several Member States or providing for measures in several Member States.

Justification

The decision concerning the selection of programmes should be based on the quality of the programme and fulfilment of criteria. However, priority shall be given to programmes carried out on third country markets in order to strengthen the Community's export.

Amendment 17

Article 9, paragraph 1

1. In the absence of programmes to be carried out on the internal market for one or more of the information measures referred to in Article 2(1)(b) submitted in accordance with Article 6(1), each interested Member State shall draw up, on the basis of the guidelines referred to in Article 5(1), a programme and its specification and shall select through a public call for tenders the implementing body for the programme it undertakes to co-finance.

1. In the absence of programmes for one or more of the information measures referred to in Article 2(1)(b) submitted in accordance with Article 6(1), each interested Member State shall draw up, on the basis of the guidelines referred to in Article 5(1), a programme and its specification and shall select through a public call for tenders the implementing body for the programme it undertakes to co-finance.

Justification

In order to increase knowledge about European quality standards including especially Community PDO/PGI, GTS and organic production schemes aiming at increasing potential export opportunities of those high quality products it should be allowed to promote those standards in third countries in campaigns organized by Member States.

Amendment 18

Article 12, paragraph 1

1. A Monitoring Group, comprising representatives of the Commission, the Member States concerned and the proposing organisations, shall monitor the programmes selected in accordance with Articles 8 and 9.

1. A Monitoring Group, comprising representatives of the Commission, the Member States concerned and the proposing organisations, shall manage the programmes selected in accordance with Articles 8 and 9.

Justification

It is important that the Monitoring Group should not only have an information function but that it should also issue opinions, interpret details, adopt agreements, etc.; ultimately it should provide guidance for the actual development of programmes in order to ensure greater legal certainty.

Amendment 19

Article 13, paragraph 2

2. The Community's financial participation in the programmes selected under Articles 8 and 9 shall not exceed 50% of the actual cost of these programmes. Where information and promotion programmes have a duration of two or three years, the participation for each year of implementation shall not exceed this ceiling.

2. The Community's financial participation in the programmes selected under Articles 8 and 9 shall not exceed 60% of the actual cost of these programmes. Where information and promotion programmes have a duration of two or three years, the participation for each year of implementation shall not exceed this ceiling. However, in the case of programmes related to organic farming and programmes dealing with measures taken as a result of crisis situations, the level of the Community’s financial participation to such programmes shall not exceed 70%.

Justification

The level of Community financial contribution to promotion measures related to organic production schemes should be increased, as the application of these standards at the level of particular holdings renders the primary production closer to sustainable, organic practices. In case of crisis situations promotion campaigns should receive stronger Community’s support. At the same time, the overall increase of the budgetary allocation for promotion measures would help maintain and guarantee the necessary level of coherence between various information and promotion campaigns throughout the EU-27. Thus, the overall level of Community’s financial contribution should be raised to 60%. The level of organisations’ financial participation should be lowered to 10% in order to make it possible for smaller organisations to participate in promotion measures.

Amendment 20

Article 13, paragraph 3, subparagraph 1

3. Proposing organisations shall participate in the funding of the programmes they propose to a level of at least 20% of the actual costs of the programmes, with the remaining funding being borne by the Member States concerned, taking account of the Community's participation referred to in paragraph 2.

3. Proposing organisations shall participate in the funding of the programmes they propose to a level of at least 10% of the actual costs of the programmes, with the remaining funding being borne by the Member States concerned, taking account of the Community's participation referred to in paragraph 2.

Justification

See justification to Article 13, paragraph 2.

Amendment 21

Article 15, paragraph 1 a (new)

Those rules shall in particular provide for the possibility for proposing organisations to submit their programme at least twice a year and for the Member States to submit the programme proposals to the Commission on the same terms.

Justification

The current system of submitting the programmes only once a year is problematic for operators. In case of a re-adjustment of the rejected programmes they have to wait one year to re-introduce them. The possibility of presenting the programmes for the internal market and third countries twice per year will give more flexibility to proposing organisations.

Amendment 22

Article 16, paragraph 2 a (new)

2a. Where reference is made to this paragraph, Articles 5 and 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply.

 

The period laid down in Article 5(6) of Decision 1999/468/EC shall be set at three months.

Justification

Provisions should be made for a proper distinction between the implementing measures related to technical issues of acceptance of projects submitted by proposing organisations and issues related to strategic approach with regard to market outlet studies and export opportunities. In the first case, the management procedure should be used, whereas, in the second case, since the choice of export strategy maintains certain aspects of political importance, the regulatory procedure should be applied.

Amendment 23

Article 17, introductory part

Before drawing up the lists provided for in Article 4, defining the guidelines under Article 5, approving the programmes referred to in Articles 6 and 9, taking a decision on the measures in accordance with Article 10 or adopting the detailed implementing rules under Article 15, the Commission may consult:

Before drawing up the lists provided for in Article 4, defining the guidelines under Article 5, approving the programmes referred to in Articles 6 and 9, taking a decision on the measures in accordance with Article 10 or adopting the detailed implementing rules under Article 15, the Commission shall consult:

Amendment 24

Article 18

Before 31 December 2012, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report on the application of this Regulation, together with any appropriate proposals.

Before 31 December 2010, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and the Council a report on the application of this Regulation, together with any appropriate proposals.

Justification

Since the aim of this proposal for a Regulation is to combine the two existing Regulations which have been in force since 1999, we consider that enough experience has been acquired to be able to issue a report in 2010 and make appropriate proposals.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Simplification of the Community regime on information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries constitutes a vital step towards the simple and manageable European agriculture policy. This is in line with the previous simplification activities carried out by the Community on the European Commission’s conceptual and legislative initiative. One of the proposals of the DG Agriculture and Rural Development Action Plan on Simplification of Common Agricultural Policy(1) provided namely for the need of simplification of the framework of promotion of agricultural products and called for drawing up a single legal framework able to clarify rules for applying the programmes.

Before dealing with the current legislative proposal, the European Commission delivered a special Report on the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 2702/1999 on measures to provide information on, and to promote, agricultural products in third countries and Council Regulation (EC) No 2826/2000 on information and promotion actions for agricultural products on the internal market(2), where it proposed five actions to be taken as a result of the conclusions taken from the experience gained by the Community in the application of the programmes. One of them was the regulatory consolidation meant as the exercise of combining the two basic Council Regulations into a single text with the aim of committing the same approach towards the implementing rules.

Thus, the role of the European Parliament in the current process should be focused on taking a further look into any simplification possibilities with regard to the basic provisions of the Regulation but also when it comes to the systematic approach of any other promotion instruments of the Community in its entire and complex field of activities. It should be namely considered, whether the Community promotion mechanism might play a more significant role in the light of recent CAP reforms and possible future WTO developments.

In this context, the Rapporteur shall stress that the advancing DDA negotiations should bring the Community to have a closer look at the possibilities lying behind the promotion campaigns. The outcome of possible future agreement might lead to tariff cuts of between 48% and 73% for most of Community’s agricultural products. In addition, the EU’s allowed level of domestic support could be reduced up to 70%. This would mean that in case of EU the total level of domestic support would be reduced down to EUR 20.1bn. On top of that, the preliminary obligation to eliminate all range of export subsidies by 2013 also provides for a 50% budgetary cut to be committed already before 2010. Under such scenario - where tariff cuts, export refunds elimination and domestic support cuts are foreseen – the EU should extend the scope of the promotion measures and increase the budget for promotion and information campaigns.

Under certain conditions, the WTO rules do not exclude possible alterations and extensions of the promotion scheme, because this instrument does not have a negative impact on trade and at the same time might exert positive impact on the competitiveness of Community’s exports. Further on, the extension of the scope of the Community promotion campaign might lead to its greater level of compatibility with WTO rules, because the programmes must be ‘widely available’ to be in line with WTO provisions. The currently binding Community provisions set up the system of an administrative choice over the limited number of products supported under the promotion campaigns which might cause possible threats of external reservations on the link between the promotion campaign and production. This should be the subject of detailed analysis.

Going back to the simplification process, it would have to be underlined that the real potential for a reduction of administrative burdens for proposing organizations lies in an appropriate streamlining of European Commission’s implementing provisions and guidelines. Therefore, the European Commission can count on full support from the European Parliament’s side when it comes to establishing in the basic Regulation of appropriate legislative powers to simplify the Guidelines at the implementing level. For instance, it would seem appropriate to make the process of submitting and selecting of the programmes possible twice a year. It seems appropriate to extend the list of eligible products – primary as well as processed products both for programmes implemented on the internal market and in third countries. The current limited scope of sectors and product range makes the scheme subject to WTO reservations and claims of coupled character of the measure. The list of third countries eligible should also be extended to all third countries.

It would be also advisable to consider the eventual inclusion of the harmonized promotion tool into the legal framework of the single CMO Regulation what might lead to a greater market operators’ knowledge of the scheme. From the technical simplification point of view it seems that the need for legal transparency and quality of the draft text would require some improvements to be done with regard to excessive use of cross-references.

Separately, what needs to be taken into consideration is the issue of desirable increase of the Community’s budget allocation for horizontal promotion measures. The current subtotal allocation under the budgetary heading ‘05 02 10’ (promotion measures) amounts to EUR 45 840 000 expressed as the level of payments’ appropriations for the year 2007. For EU-27 such an amount in the long run would leave no significant impact on the improvement of Community’s ability to extend potential market outlets for high quality agri-food production. Under the circumstances of progressive elimination of export subsidies (mostly by means of reduction, suspension or setting zero rate of export refunds), decoupling, elimination of market management measures, the significant budgetary extension of promotion schemes seems inevitable to maintain the level of competitiveness of EU agriculture. At the same time, information campaigns should serve for giving the consumers good knowledge about sustainable CAP production, high quality of EU agricultural products, organic farming as well as health aspects.

The increase of the budgetary allocation for promotion measures together with strengthening the role of this instrument within the agricultural acquis would help maintain and guarantee the necessary level of coherence between various information and promotion campaigns throughout the EU-27. Otherwise, faced with the growing aspect of external competition Member States might resort to applying nationally designed campaigns under the state aid rules. This would in turn cause even more administrative overload of the European Commission’s Services and the goal of system simplification might be diluted. The leading role of the Community could also be justified by the fact, that there are measures foreseen only for the implementation at the Commission’s initiative. Experience gained by Community Institutions while managing projects like high level trade visits should only find its factual use through extensive promotion campaigns realized under the same, single legal framework.

Finally, bearing in mind the fact that all utilised agricultural area of the Community is subject to detailed provisions of animal welfare, environmental protection and public health standards which is also guaranteed through direct income support mechanisms, the level of Community financial contribution to promotion measures related to organic production schemes should be increased, as the application of these standards at the level of particular holdings renders the primary production closer to sustainable, organic practices. Such increase would be also in line with recent political decisions with regard to fruit and vegetables and wine. The abolition of any market instruments renders the agricultural production susceptible to crisis situations caused by e.g. climate disturbances or animal diseases. In those cases promotion campaigns should receive stronger Community’s support.

At the same time, provisions should be made for a proper distinction between the implementing measures related to technical issues of acceptance of projects submitted by proposing organisations and issues related to strategic approach with regard to market outlet studies and export opportunities. In the first case, in accordance with the European Commission’s recent legislative practice and taking into account the technical nature of the evaluation of particular projects - the management procedure should be used. Whereas in the second case, since the choice of export strategy maintains certain aspects of political importance, the regulatory procedure should be applied.

The Rapporteur would like to recall at this place the results of the recent fruit and vegetables reform with regard to promotion. The final Presidency’s compromise provided for the modification to Article 5(3) of Regulation (EC) No 2826/2000 saying that a special focus shall be given to promotion targeted at children in educational establishments. Additionally, in its declaration on school fruit scheme attached to the text of the reform, the Council invited the Commission “to come forward with a proposal for a school fruit scheme as soon as possible based on an impact assessment of the benefits, practicability and administrative costs involved” (doc. 10771/07). The current exercise of simplifying the horizontal promotion tool seems to be the most appropriate moment to do so.

(1)

Working paper, October 2006.

(2)

COM(2006)0855 - {SEC(2006) 1785}.


PROCEDURE

Title

Information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products

References

COM(2007)0268 - C6-0203/2007 - 2007/0095(CNS)

Date of consulting Parliament

2.7.2007

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

AGRI

9.7.2007

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)

       Date announced in plenary

BUDG

9.7.2007

IMCO

9.7.2007

 

 

Not delivering opinions

       Date of decision

BUDG

17.7.2007

IMCO

12.9.2007

 

 

Rapporteur(s)

       Date appointed

Bogdan Golik

5.6.2007

 

 

Discussed in committee

12.9.2007

8.10.2007

21.11.2007

 

Date adopted

21.11.2007

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

29

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Vincenzo Aita, Peter Baco, Bernadette Bourzai, Niels Busk, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, Giuseppe Castiglione, Albert Deß, Duarte Freitas, Ioannis Gklavakis, Lutz Goepel, Bogdan Golik, Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf, Elisabeth Jeggle, Heinz Kindermann, Diamanto Manolakou, Mairead McGuinness, Rosa Miguélez Ramos, Neil Parish, María Isabel Salinas García, Agnes Schierhuber, Willem Schuth, Czesław Adam Siekierski, Petya Stavreva, Donato Tommaso Veraldi

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Pilar Ayuso, Katerina Batzeli, Esther De Lange, James Nicholson, Zdzisław Zbigniew Podkański

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