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23/06/2006 01:12 Local Time 
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Statement by G. Drys following the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, Brussels (13/6/03)

"As you know, the Council convened on Wednesday and Thursday in Luxembourg. The discussions were trilateral, between the Presidency, the Commission and the individual Member States. The Presidency presented a compromise proposal to the Member States, which had been accepted by the Commission.  The ten new Member States also participated in the talks. After the talks, the Presidency hosted a working lunch for the ministers, during which it was ascertained that more time was required for the agreement to mature.

A number of ministers requested a recess in order to consult with their Parliaments and the agricultural organisations of their respective countries. The Council decided to continue its sessions on Tuesday (17 June) in Luxembourg.

In the meantime, the Presidency and the European Commission will prepare an improved compromise proposal on the basis of the deliberations of the trilateral meetings held yesterday and the previous day. 

I wish to note that the Presidency has ascertained the will of the Member States for decisions to be taken now.

Our target is to arrive at a sincere and honourable compromise in the coming week. The reform must be concluded immediately so that the EU can go to Cancun with a strong and common negotiating position.

In addition, I should underline the Council’s unanimous position that there must be no winners or losers in this round. The only winner must be European Agriculture and European farmers from the Baltic to the Mediterranean.

As you know, the main element of the reform is Decoupling. Efforts to find a solution regarding this issue are focused on determining the level at which production-linked aids will be maintained in the subsidy payment system.

Such a solution cannot be achieved in a random, haphazard manner, but through the application of specific criteria. The Presidency defines these criteria as follows:

• Maintenance of production-linked aids only where necessary. Such aids are necessary only when there is danger of abandonment of regions or branches of production.
• Establishment of a simple and functional system for the payment of aids to farmers.
• Integration of as many aids as possible in the WTO’s ‘Green Box’.

The Presidency considers that the decisions on the reform of the CAP are historical and should shape a framework of stability for European agriculture and send a message of confidence and optimism to all farmers in Europe, to the farmers of the North and South, as well as to all European citizens.

The new CAP must preserve the European agricultural model, promote sustainable development, the protection of the environment and be oriented towards the European citizen, producing safe and healthy products for the market and consumers rather than for silos and warehouses.

I am optimistic. All the ministers believe that the time has come to take decisions and each minister will assume his or her share of responsibility. We want the Reform to be comprehensive and practicable. We do not want Reform for the sake of Reform.

We wish to achieve Reform with prospects and a future. We want dynamic farmers, equal citizens in the great European family. These are our targets that will be included in our compromise proposal".  

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