EU - The Latvian Presidency has presented its work programme in the agriculture and fisheries sector to the EU Council.
As regards agriculture, the President of the Council underlined the importance to the Presidency of organic farming. Minister Duklavs noted: "On the basis of the progress achieved by the previous Presidency, we plan to reach a general approach at the Council by the end of our Presidency."
He also said that "the simplification of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) is one of the main priorities of the Latvian presidency. We will ensure that the Council can send a clear message to the Commission on issues that still have to be simplified under the reformed CAP as regards direct payments, rural development and common market organisation."
On the current Russian ban on EU agricultural products introduced by Russia in August 2014, the president of the Council recalled that: "the Russian ban must be dealt with by the EU as a whole and that a differentiated treatment of Member States is unacceptable."
The Council also discussed market developments and the measures introduced so far by the Commission for fruit, vegetables and dairy products in a response to the Russian ban. While acknowledging the measures, the Member States expressed concerns they might prove insufficient to alleviate the consequences of the ban on the EU market.
Some member states also drew attention to the difficulties encountered by the pigmeat sector for which no market measures have so far been taken.
The Council held a public debate on a proposal for a multiannual plan for the stocks of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea.
This plan is based on a multispecies approach and will ensure that Baltic fish are exploited in a sustainable way. Member states generally welcomed the proposal and highlighted that it will be a test case for a new generation of multiannual management plans.
Janis Duklavs said: "This debate will help our Presidency to reach agreement in the Council as soon as possible and to begin negotiations with the European Parliament."
As regards the state of play of the negotiations with the European Parliament on the implementation of the landing obligation, many Member States supported the compromise presented by the Latvian Presidency with the aim of reaching a rapid agreement on this issue.
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