Austria takes over presidency of the Council of the European Union

Between the 1st of July and the 31st of December 2018 Austria holds the office of presidency of the Council of the European Union. Agriculture and fisheries will be an important focus-area during their presidency.

Agriculture

The main focus of the Austrian presidency will be to negotiate the European Commission’s proposals for a more modern and more simplified Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020.

An important component of this agenda will be the safeguarding of a multifunctional EU-wide agriculture and the increased support for rural development. This second pillar of the CAP is traditionally an important focus point for Austria, as well as maintaining the link between agriculture and the environment.

One of the measures to ensure the CAP’s position as a common strategic policy will be to put a stronger emphasis on subsidiarity. Among the first points for discussion in this topic will be the legislative proposals of the Commission based on the Communication on ‘The Future of Food and Farming’.

Austria recognises the disadvantaged position of agricultural producers due to unfair trading practices. The presidency will therefore place a strong emphasis on improving their situation within the supply chain and the sustainable strengthening of weaker business partners.

The improvement of Europe’s vegetable protein supply, the implementation of a Bio-economy Strategy in agriculture and forestry, and working on veterinary and phytosanitary matters will also receive adequate attention.

There will also be a number of relevant dossiers discussed for the forestry sector, a traditionally important area for Austria. This includes a review of the EU Forest Strategy, deforestation, as well as an overview of possibilities for resuming negotiations on a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe.

During their presidency, Austria will work in achieving better networking among Member States on food safety, as well as increasing transparency of the authorization procedures followed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Fisheries

In respect to fisheries, Austria will focus on negotiations on 2019 catch limits for the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the North Sea/the Atlantic. They will also conclude two-year total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas for deep-sea species and three-year autonomous tariff quotas for certain fishery products.

To find out more about the Austrian Presidency, visit their webpage here.

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