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Delegations remain split on need for new EU legislation on food chain

Delegations were split on the need for a common EU framework on rules governing the food chain at today’s Farm Council (Nov 11), with FR, IT, PL, RO, IE, AT, SI, LT & ES upporting the key recommendation put forward by the Agricultural Markets Task Force in its final eport [see AF84 & 83-16], while countries such as DE, UK, FI, BE, SE, DK & NL prefer to stick to voluntary platforms & self-regulatory instruments.

A number of delegations – SE, IT, IE & UK – said transparency was paramount when monitoring price development, the latter supporting mandatory price reporting particularly for the development of futures markets, while Slovenia backed the taskforce’s call to introduce greater clarity on derogations to EU competition law. The German delegation acknowledged that farmers are the “only actors in the food chain bearing the burden of market risk”, but Berlin is “not in favour” of European legislation, they stated, adding that countries should use the tools already available such as Producer Organisations. Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan confirmed that the EU’s executive is going to evaluate the group’s recommendations before the Dec Council (12-13) & is “looking at actions to take to include it in the 2017 annual work programme”. Slovak Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matečná said improving the position of farmers was a “key priority” for her Presidency & said she was keen to pen Council Conclusions on the food supply chain at next month’s gathering.

(AgraFacts No85-16)