January 2012 NEWSFLASH

Dear friends of the ARC!Happy new year to you all and welcome to the January issue of the ARC NEWSFLASH! ARC has started the new year with a bang. Our highlight was hosting a debate with Dacian Cioloş and a number of civil society organisations on January 20th in Berlin. The lively question and answer session which ensued gave different groups a chance to raise their concerns directly with the EU Agriculture Commissioner.Encouraged by the constructive debate, the Commissioner announced that he will organise a conference with civil society in July this year in Brussels to continue the dialogueThe following day (still in Berlin), members and organisations from the ARC network attended the ‘Wir haben es Satt‘ demonstration which saw a crowd of 23,000 consumers, farmers, beekeepers, environmental and animal rights activists,and developmental groups gather in front of Germany’s government offices to demand an end to industrial farming practices.January was also the 50th anniversary of the CAP. On 23rd January, ARC issued a press release with our signatories, Friends of the Earth Europe and IFOAM EU Group. After 50 years of support for a failing system, we called upon European and national policy-makers to reconsider their support for short-term productivity that is clearly not the right path.  We demanded a radical change in the European Union to provide citizens with healthy food, guarantee the sustainable use of natural resources, enhance the environment and ensure a decent livelihood for all farmers. Our messages were picked up by the European news site EurActiv, see the article here.

We wish you a productive start to the year and look forward to working with you in 2012.

Kate Mann

Last month in BrusselsOn January 1st, the Danish presidency of the EU Council begun. This is the seventh time Denmark will have held the EU Presidency since joining the European Community in 1973. You can find their information on the CAP on the Presidency websitehere. Their work programme for the next 6 months was officially presented at a press conference on January 6th. Find all information here. The specific work programme for the Agriculture and Fisheries Council was presented at the Council meeting on January 23rd, the first meeting of 2012. Regarding CAP reform, discussion at the meeting focussed on the single common market organisation (CMO). You can read more about the Council meeting in the next section. The following day, 24th January, the work programme was also presented to the EU Parliament by Mette Gjerskov, Danish farm minister and President-in-office of the Agriculture Council. And finally this month, to mark the 50th year of the CAP, the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development launched a new 50 years of the CAP website.
Report from the Agriculture and Fisheries CouncilOn January 23rd, ministers met for an exchange of views on the single common market organisation (CMO) regulation within the framework of the CAP. The debate focussed on the effectiveness of exceptional measures in case of market disturbances, and measures to create a more competitive and well-functioning food supply chain (more specifically the reinforcement of producer organisations). According to the Council press release, most Member States feel the proposals regarding market disturbances went in the right direction: Some welcome the creation of a specific crisis fund whilst others feel it should only be used only in exceptional, clearly-defined circumstances. Questions were also raised on the financing of the fund. In terms of reinforcing producer organisations, some stressed that the new rules should be voluntary in order to adapt to the different national situations, whilst others insisted that this should not introduce competition distortion. Find more information here.

A meeting with…

Dacian Cioloş – EU Agriculture Commissioner

Likening the reform process to skating on a ice rink…“If you go too fast you will fall and break your legs. We must goslowly and carefully when developing our agriculturalpolicy.”Read the full report on the debate held with the Commissioner and civil society organisations in Berlin on January 20th HERE

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