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ELECTIONS 2014 : What follows

The European elections are now behind us, but many questions have yet to be answered. The next few days should cast more light on who will be the next Commission president and which political groups will find common ground to shape the agenda of the new Parliament. Here is a brief look at what comes next:

·        The Conference of Presidents, which consists of the leaders of parliamentary groups and the EP president, meets early on Tuesday 27 May, to discuss what the results of the European elections mean for the political landscape in Europe and Parliament itself, as well as how they will influence the election of the president of the European Commission. For the first time ever, European political parties presented official candidates for the top post of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body in charge of formulating and enforcing the EU policies that have to be approved by the Parliament and the national governments. On election night, most of these candidates said that the new Commission president should be one of them.

·        The official nomination should come over the coming weeks from the European Council, where the EU heads of state or government meet. The first step for them is the informal dinner they have in Brussels on Tuesday evening to discuss the issue. The Lisbon Treaty states that in their choice of candidate, they should take into account the results of the elections.

·        The nominated candidate will then try to rally support from political groups in Parliament, which is expected to vote on whether to approve or not the Council candidate during the 14-17 July plenary session. For the nominee to get the EP’s approval, over half of all MEPs, meaning at least 376, should vote in his or her favour.

·        Another issue to watch for is whether new groups emerge in the Parliament following the elections. Under the EP’s rules of procedure, at least 25 MEPs from a quarter of all EU countries (i.e. seven) are needed to form a new group. The official political groups in EP should be established before the first plenary session starting on 1 July.

·        During the first plenary session in July, MEPs  will choose a new president and the vice-presidents of the Parliament.


Learn more in your language on the website on the EU elections of the European Parliament. (source European Parliament)


COMMISSION: Dacian Ciolos candidate to stay in Brussels

The current European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Romanian Dacian Ciolos, told reporters about his candidacy for a second term in the next Commission, who will take office in November. However, ”It will depend on the outcome of European elections, of the decision of the President of the next Commission, and especially of the Romanian government” he said to the press. Moreover, candidates to the same position from other Member States start to be known: this function interests Italian Paolo De Castro, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture of the outgoing Parliament, which designation by the Italian government is however unlikely. Finally, in Ireland, Member State a priori interested in the position of Commissioner for Agriculture, the best candidate is the current Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT: First Partnership agreements are signed

On 5 May, the Commission began the conclusion of partnership agreements with the Member States. In 15 days, 4 agreements (Denmark, Greece, Poland and Germany) have been finalized. Other agreements should be concluded by summer. DG REGIO has set up a web page where can find more information on each country. For more information, please contact the secretariat.


EMSA: a successful General Assembly

The European Organisation of the mobile seed processors, EMSA held its 4th Annual General Meeting on May 7 in Saint Omer (France) in the presence of the Mayor of the city, future member of the European Committee of the Regions and Mr Dolez from the seed processors manufacturer DOLEZ. Apart from the statutory aspects, the meeting focused on identifying short-term ambitions for the organization to the extent that the reform of Regulation 2100/94, which is the ”raison d’être” of EMSA will not take place quickly. Ultimately, in the coming months EMSA will firstly ensure to broaden the base of its membership by meeting processors who have been identified but are not yet members (Poland and Sweden initially) and secondly to build relationships with new MEPs and Commissioner for Agriculture.


ENERGY: Cellulosic ethanol challenged the United States

The use of crop residues of corn to produce cellulosic ethanol could have a short term negative impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Those are the conclusions of a study published in the journal Nature on 20 April 2014 by the University Lincoln, Nebraska . Indeed, the carbon content in crop residues processed for the production of ethanol emits much more quickly CO² -main greenhouse gas (GHG)- that if left in the fields to naturally replenish the stock soil carbon. This could even exclude these biofuels from the standards imposed by the American Energy Act, which provides a 60% reduction in GHG emissions compared to conventional gasoline. In the worst case scenario, if all the crop residue is collected in the field, cellulosic ethanol could issue 7% more GHG emissions than gasoline, the study said. These findings are a blow for cellulosic biofuels that have received more than a billion dollars of support from the federal government of the United States but have not so far met the objectives of production provided by the Energy Act.


FOREST: Member states give their support to the « strategy » from Brussels

The European Forest Strategy adopted in September 2013 by the European Commission received on 19 May the support of the Ministers for Agriculture. This new strategy is to replace the current one dating back from 1998. It aims at encouraging Member States to manage their forests in a holistic manner, taking into account the new challenges they face: biodiversity, energy production or fight against climate change. A number of Member States raised a number of critics to this strategy, for the objective of harmonizing national forest policy is challenging subsidiarity in this matter. Stressing that the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union does not mention common EU policy in this area and that the responsibility lies with the Member States, they recognize nevertheless the need for policy coordination and the establishment of synergies with other sectors that have an impact on forest management. Ministers proposed to the Commission to prepare, in collaboration with stakeholders, a multi-year implementation focused on the priorities of the sector. For more information, please contact the secretariat.


Agenda for the coming weeks

27 May Advisory group Forest & Cork
3-4 June Meeting of the ESCO reference group (qualification/competences/occupations)
3-5 June Green Week
6 June Audit of CEETTAR bookkeeping
10 June Conference « Sustainable resources of water in Europe»
11 June General Assembly of UEAPME
13 June Meeting of the Board of Europäische Metall-Union
16-17 June Council of Ministers for Agriculture
19 June Commission Conference « land as a resource »
23-26 June Sustainable energy week
24 June CEETTAR General Assembly
25 June Commission Conference ”Bioenergy in rural areas”
30 June Working Group on Agricultural Tractors (WGAT) DG ENTR