CEETTAR Newsflash 2014/01

FINANCES : Soon new rules for agriculture and forestry

The European Commission just published two projects on new rules for State financing in the agricultural and forestry sectors, as well as in rural zones. Organisations and companies are asked to take a look at these projects and make some comments by 24 March at the latest. These texts will also be discussed with the member States mid-March and will be redrafted afterwards, taking into account the comments received. Then the texts will be presented to the Commission for adoption in June and implementation on 1 July 2014. The projects Brussels present concern the exemptions on community rules and the directive lines that apply to State aids. The aim is to speed up the procedures, to reduce the administrative burden of the public administrations and to adapt the current arrangements to the new CAP.

The first text aims at extending the scope of the rules defining the categories of State subsidies that can be granted by the member States without prior notification to the Commission. New categories will be included, which will especially permit to grant support to the forestry sector. This sector now benefits from financial support thanks to the EARDF Funds.

Last December, the Commission already adopted another legal instrument that applies to the agricultural sector: Regulation on the minimis aid. As of 1 January, State financing for primary agricultural production that does neither exceed 15 000 € per beneficiary (instead of 7 500 € before) over a period of three fiscal years, nor does it exceed the 1 % ceiling (instead of 0,75 % before) of the national agricultural production worth are viewed as aids not distorting or posing no threat to distort the competition and which can be granted without prior notification or authorisation by Brussels. You can find the document (only available in English) by following this link: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/consultations/index_en.htm. You can send your comments to the secretariat before 23 March. CEETTAR will communicate its position to the Commission on 24 March. For further information, please contact the secretariat.


SOCIAL : posting of workers

The permanent representatives of the 28 in Brussels approved on 5 March a compromise reached on 27 February with the European Parliament on the reinforcement of the 1996 Directive on the posting of workers from one EU country to another. This text aims at giving means to national administrations to avoid frauds, which are many. The text still has to receive the approval of the parliamentary committee responsible on 18 March and has still to be voted in the plenary session in April in order to be definitively adopted by the Council. The 28 member States will have two years to transpose into national law. For more information, please contact the secretariat.


FOREST: European study on Wood Raw Material Supply & Demand

On 18 March, the European Commission officially presented to the stakeholders the report ”Study on the Wood Raw Material Supply & Demand for the EU Wood-processing Industries” published in December 2013. This large document aims at analysing on the one hand the resources, production methods and their competitiveness and, on the other hand, the need of the different industries using wood. Moreover it aims at integrating this evaluation in the European legal framework. The study also includes case-studies of countries such as Finland, Germany, Spain and the United-Kingdom. Eventually, as a conclusion, the document suggests a number of recommendations calling upon the UE and member states to increase investment, both in the forestry sector and in the infrastructure, to adapt the legislation as to bring more support to the sector. For more information, please contact the secretariat.


GMOs: the member States reopen the discussion about cultivation

Apart from France and Belgium, the member States have supported on  3 March of this year the restart of the negotiations on the authorisation (and prohibition) of cultivation of GMOs within the EU based on the proposals of the European Commission. Technical works will from now on be carried out in order to reach a political agreement before June. The text that will be used as a work basis suggests to implement an arrangement in two steps: firstly, member States that do not want to grow GMOs ask the company, who wants to get a new GMO seed authorised, to commit themselves not to sell this seed in the member State in question. If the company refuses, the member State can prohibit the cultivation on a part of or on the whole of its territory by providing other justifications on top of the health and environmental ones.
After the European elections, the negotiations will start between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament, which adopted already in 2011 the proposal of the Commission. However, despite the restart of this case, many technical points (time limits, motivation…) still have to be finalised. For more information, please contact the 


PLANT VARIETY RIGHTS : two new patents for Monsanto

Continuing its latest decisions, the European Patent Office recently granted two certificates to Monsanto. The first concerns a technique permitting the selection of soya varieties adapted to certain climate zones and developed from sequencing 250 “exotic” soya varieties which were tested for their adaptation ability to global warming.  The second is about a new broccoli variety, that has a higher stem than average and thus making mechanic picking easier. These two patents granted to varieties obtained by conventional selection raise once again the question of the patentability of every animal or plant reproduction material and the future plant production in the European legal system. For more information, please contact the secretariat.


ENVIRONMENT : European Council and Parliament reach an agreement

On 5 March, the negotiators of the European Parliament and the Greek presidency of the Council have reached an agreement on the proposal of the European Commission aiming at preventing the import or at stopping the propagation of intrusive exotic species. The legal text, still to be adopted formally by the Council and the Parliament, provides the implementation of surveillance systems and action plans by the member States against these plants, animals or insects which cost 12 thousand million euros to the EU every year (agricultural and forestry losses, diseases…). Official border controls should be increased and for the already very widespread intrusive exotic species, the member States will have to work out management plans.


Agenda for the following weeks

18 mars

Presentation of the « Supply and demand of wood » study by DG ENTERPRISE

19 mars

Joint meeting of the management committee Rural Development and the committee on the Agricultural Funds (Commission/member States)

20-21 mars

Standing Forestry Committee(Commission/member States)

24 mars

Council of Ministers of Agriculture

24-25 mars

Meeting of ESCO reference group (qualification/skills/professions)

1 avril

Forum for Agriculture 2014: Meeting the food and environmental challenge: how to sustainably produce more with less and trade better

2 avril

« New spring for bees » conference of European Parliament

3-4 avril

Board meeting of the European Metal Union

7 avril

Last meeting of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee of the European Parliament before the parliamentary elections of 25 May 2014

17 avril

CEETTAR Board meeting

7 mai

EMSA General Assembly  (European Mobile Seed Association).