Agriculture and Fisheries Council
16 February 2016

Farming crisis: 12 EU countries agree with the French analysis

Speaking in Brussels on 15 February, Stéphane Le Foll, Minister of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry, urged Europe to act to save the farming industry.
Content published under the Government Valls III from 2016 11th February to 2016 06th December
Addressing the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels, Stéphane Le Foll explained France's proposals for tackling the farming crisis, as outlined in its memorandum to the European Commission.

12 EU countries (including Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Romania and Belgium) have joined France in calling for new measures to be implemented. Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture, has also acknowledged the seriousness of the crisis and the need to propose new measures in March. He welcomed the French proposals regarding export credits, the use of promotion and efforts to lift the Russian embargo, and said that it was important to find solutions to contain current output. The Commissioner will visit Paris on 25 February to discuss the measures to be taken with the Prime Minister. The issue of the farming crisis will be raised by the President of the Republic at the next European Council.
At the meeting, Stéphane Le Foll emphasised the need for Europe to have effective tools for regulating agricultural markets at its disposal and to quickly put in place mechanisms to support farmers in difficulty. He believes that only a mechanism that encourages economic players to take responsibility for limiting production will help end the output race that always leads to a drop in prices that farmers find unsustainable. Finally, mechanisms designed to encourage support for promotion and export incentives must be put forward – a belief shared by many Member States.

As a reminder, Stéphane Le Foll had alerted the Commission to the seriousness of the agricultural crisis in summer 2015 and had already indicated that the aid released in September 2015 would not be sufficient. Some months later, there is no denying that the situation regarding prices in agricultural markets has deteriorated, as Commissioner Phil Hogan has acknowledged and the European Milk Market Observatory's analysis has confirmed.

Finally, France reiterated its firm desire for provisions regarding country of origin labelling of processed products, which is widely supported by European consumers, to be put in place. Pending joint provisions and a Community ruling, the Minister has submitted a draft decree to the European Commissioner with the aim of moving forward at national level.

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