Brussels Briefing on Agriculture – All you need to know for May 2016
In this latest Brussels Briefing on Agriculture, AGRA FACTS journalist Rose O’Donovan provides an update of the main items on the agenda at the Farm Council that took place in Brussels on May 17. At the meeting, Germany joined Finland and Lithuania in calling on the Commission to activate the annual agricultural crisis reserve to alleviate cash-flow difficulties among farmers, a shift confirmed by EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. In a surprise U-turn, Berlin appears to be coming around to the idea of triggering the emergency fund financed through direct payment cuts. Meanwhile, the EU Farm chief said any hope of a second aid package would be “premature” at this stage, saying only half of the €420 million solidarity package has been paid out by fifteen Member States. As EU-Mercosur trade talks gather momentum, negotiators from both sides met in Brussels on May 11 to exchange market access offers. EU Ministers will gather for the informal Farm Council in the Netherlands on May 30-31 and are set to meet again for a formal discussion on the market situation and possible additional aid at the last gathering under the Dutch Presidency in Luxembourg (June 27-28).