With the publication of a Green Paper on these issues, the Commission is looking at how to shape a more targeted and more ambitious strategy for the future, which will make clearer to consumers – both in the EU and beyond – the quality, traditions and added-value of European agricultural and food products.
Presenting the Green Paper in Brussels, EU commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Dacian Ciolo? said: “To protect the health of our consumers farmers in Europe face stricter rules on food safety, environmental conditions, and animal welfare than their competitors elsewhere in the world. The European agriculture industry needs an ambitious and effective promotion policy which highlights the added-value of the sector. It is also important for European jobs and growth that the EU agri-food sector can improve its position on traditional and emerging markets. We therefore need to consider how best to adapt our schemes to support this goal.”
The paper raises a series of multi-faceted questions and invites all stakeholders – consumers, producers, distributors and official authorities – to give their comments and suggestions by 30 September 2011. On the basis of these responses, the Commission will draft a Communication for publication next year, which should then lead to legislative proposals.
The Green Paper is divided into four sections:
The various questions raised, 16 in all, contain different aspects and suggestions, aimed at stimulating responses. For example, they ask about the specific needs for information and promotion, both on the EU market and the external market, and what priorities should be set. There is also a question about multi-country programmes, and what can be done to encourage programmes with a greater European dimension.
Current EU agri-food information and promotion rules were drawn up in the 1980s. They have been adapted over the years, notably with the increase in the number of quality labels.
The EU budget spent on promotion under Council Regulation (EC) No 3/2008 amounted to €50.6m in 2007, €53.2m in 2008, €47.4m in 2009, and €47.4 in 2010.
The current system sees most programmes targeted at the EU market (71% of programmes, 74% in value) and around 8% are multi-country programmes.
Between 2006 and 2010, 190 programmes were approved, mostly 3 year schemes, worth a total of €259.4 million from the EU budget 1. (NB These need to be co-funded by the participating organisations and by Member States). Also, under the strict rules that apply, some 59% of applications were rejected over the 2006-2010 period.
To participate in the consultation, visit: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/promotion/index_en.htm
Source: European Commission
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