The aim of this exchange was for the Presidency to obtain a revised mandate from the
SCA on the basis of a compromise text (documents 7990/17 and 8215/17 + ADD 1 and
ADD 2) in view of the trilogue scheduled for 03 May 2017. Delegations were invited to
share their views on the compromise texts proposed covering controls (Chapter Va),
unpacked products (Article 25(5b)), databases (Article 19a), derogations (Article 35),
group of operators (Article 26).
The Maltese Presidency informed the delegations that good progress was achieved on
databases/derogations and other points in inter-institutional drafting sessions, but
demarcated beds and pesticides remain critical issues. The Presidency expects the EP to
submit an explanatory note on the seed package at the next trilogue of 3 May.
According to COM, drafting sessions were very useful in achieving positive outcomes,
and more than 90% of the text was covered. On specific points, as regards retailers
selling unpacked produce, COM showed flexibility on exemptions on controls as long as
a clear limit is set. On derogations, COM argued for the need of a credible end date.
FR, ES and PT, BG, EL, LU, IE were generally quite positive, with DE pro-positive
although still scrutiny reservation on the 4 columns. IT is reluctant to give a mandate
until greenhouses and pesticides are clarified. NL critical on the texts discussed, DK
critical in particular referring to unsolved problems (greenhouses , imports and others),
PL, CZ against.
The discussion was split into two table rounds: the first included controls, unpacked
products (different types of thresholds and figures proposed to limit exemptions to small
retailers), databases/derogations; the second covered groups of operators, Delegated Act
(DA) for processed food, prolongation of transition period in cases of unintended
contamination and the obligation for operators to use animal databases, where set up
voluntarily by MS.
Text on controls
was quite widely accepted with the exception of the empowerments;
according to some delegations, the DA is too wide, especially as regards frequency of
inspections, and gives too much power to COM (CZ, NL, FI, PL, IE, BE, CY).
Presidency reassured that they will try to limit DA as much as possible in favour of IA.
On unpacked products
, to exempt retailers from the certification system, among the
three proposed options (turnover, marketed volume and an indicator), some delegations
rejected the third one and expressed preference for the other two. Other delegations
argued that it is a too burdensome procedure and they would prefer the status quo (FI,
AT, HU, SE, UK). Others (PT, CZ, LT, SL) consider that it is difficult to verify the right
to the exemption. Presidency concluded that they will stick to the higher proposed figures
for the other two cases: 20 000 EUR and 5 000 KG per year.
Concerning databases (DB)
linked to the end of derogations, many delegations have
finally accepted the article on a database to allow the Commission to assess the
availability of organic reproductive material (seeds, livestock and juveniles). Certain
delegations oppose to the DB in general as it is considered as an administrative burden
(CZ, FI, AT, IE, RO). Although DB on livestock already exist for conventional
reproductive animals, it is the most criticised.
Several MS consider end of derogations
in 15 years after the entry into validity of the
Regulation, while others agree with the COM proposal setting a date (HU, ES, LU) at
2030. Others would envisage an open end for the derogations but linked to the evidence
of availability of organic material and on a case-by-case basis (DE, UK, BE).
Concerning the group of operators
, a number of options were presented to determine
members of a group of operators (hectares and turnover or standard output). COM
reminded that group certification for small operators is a new introduction in the
legislation (currently available only in third countries), so COM needs enough flexibility
in DA to learn from experience and eventually adapt legal provisions. According to some
delegations, the geographical proximity of operators should be defined in the basic act +
IA, as opposed in a DA (CZ, IT, DE, EL). Some mentioned the criterion on hectares
should be adapted to the type of area, e.g. vineyards, greenhouses, etc (IT, DE). For some
others, the proposed 25 000 EUR per operator is too high (DE, EL, LT, SK), and when in
combination with other parameters, too restrictive (UK and NL). Presidency accepted to
lower it to 20 000 EUR.
The PRES acknowledged that some Delegations still have problems on certain issues as
found in the compromise text proposed and announced that a number of amendments
would be made available electronically by the end of the day in order to try to
accommodate a number of outstanding issues. Also a silent procedure would be launched
with a deadline of 25 April (cob).
, DG AGRI, Unit B.4 Tel.:
Organisation of future work
The next SCA meeting will take place on 15 May
in Brussels. The provisional agenda
includes a debriefing of the Trilogue meeting on organic production of 3 May.
The next AGRIFISH Council is foreseen for 11 May
. Only Coreper items are currently
foreseen with no SCA points, but two delegations have requested AOB points.
PL requested an AOB point regarding the sugar market in EU, in light of end of the quota
system (high production of sugar and surplus of non-quota sugar in warehouses).
Lithuania also requested an AOB point for the situation of the milk market (milk powder
in intervention storages).
The Presidency took note of these requests. Reporting:
, DG AGRI, Unit I.5 Tel.: