Having trouble reading this email? Click here to view it in your browser.

Twitter @UKFarmingUnions

9 November 2023

Welcome to the latest edition of Brussels in Brief. The BAB team is here, we are in Brussels and we want to work on behalf of you and your members. You can find out more on what is happening in Europe at our website - BAB (britishagriculturebureau.co.uk)..

Trade talks between Australia and EU collapse 

Australia flag _23350

Free Trade Agreement trade talks between the EU and Australia broke-up without agreement at the end of October. The talks, held on the sidelines of a meeting of G7 trade ministers in Japan, were seen as a final push to get an agreement across the line before EU elections next year. The break down is reported as being due to Australia not realising its agricultural market access objectives, particularly for its sheep meat and beef producers. With the change of Commission and Parliament in 2024, the timeframe for the completion of possible new negotiations is not clear.

Next round of EU Mercosur talks are underway


The Brazilian President and Spanish Prime Minister had a call last Friday, with chief negotiators from both sides meeting last week in Brasilia. A new round of negotiations should start imminently. Mercosur countries seek €12.5 billion in compensation in the form of grants and loans from the EU to strengthen environmental protection under their proposed trade deal. This figure is under discussion, and may prevent an agreement being reached by the end of the year.  

Environment MEPs vote to reduce use of PPPs 

The European Parliament’s environment committee voted in favour of halving pesticide usage in the EU over the next six years. The committee also called for a reduction of 65% for “more hazardous products” and an outright ban on the use of pesticides (except those approved for organic farming and biological control) on “sensitive areas”, including Natura 2000 sites. The vote goes further than the Commission’s proposal which Copa claim was “already completely out of touch with farming on-ground realities”. By December 2025, the Commission must examine the differences in the use of pesticides on imported agricultural and agri-food products relative to EU produce and, if needed, propose measures to ensure imports meet EU-equivalent standards. The export of pesticides not approved in EU would be banned. 

Environment MEPs vote on the Carbon Removal Certification

MEPs from the Environment Committee voted, with a strong majority, in favour of an EU Certification Framework for Carbon Removals and Carbon Farming, including carbon storage in products and the reduction of carbon and GHG emissions. The Committee expanded the definition of carbon farming to include reductions of carbon, nitrogen, and methane from biogenic carbon pools (living biomass, litter, dead wood, dead organic matter, mineral soils, and organic soils), soil, enteric fermentation, and manure management. Copa and Cogeca strongly regret the obligation to generate co-benefits in many items (e.g., biodiversity and maintenance and protection of ecosystems), and the sustainability criteria, which should have not been made mandatory for farmers and foresters to obtain carbon credits. Once the European Parliament and the Council have finalised their position on the proposal, informal negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement on the file will begin.

Animal welfare in transport proposals expected in December  

welfare transport 20_80305

Legislative proposals on animal welfare during transport are expected in December 2023. The proposals have apparently received a positive opinion from the Commission’s Regulatory Scrutiny Board and are now in interservice consultation within the Commission. Proposals will likely include a reduction journey times, an increase in space allowances and introduction of temperature limits. The legislation is expected to apply directly in Northern Ireland.

Framework Finance for egg sexing technology 


The European Investment Bank has signed a €40 million loan agreement with In Ovo to scale up the Dutch company’s ‘Ella’ technology, which can identify the sex of chicks in eggs at an early stage. The screening machine would allow hatcheries to only hatch laying hens and eliminate the need to cull male chicks. An estimated 6.5 billion male chicks are killed each year, and the Commission may propose a ban culling of day-old male chicks in the future. 

Aid approved for Italian and French farmers 

The Commission approved a €450 million Italian scheme designed to encourage investments related to primary agricultural production & to the processing & marketing of agricultural products. The assistance will be in the form of subsidised loans covering up to 80% of the eligible costs & the scheme will run until Dec 31, 2025. It will be open to the primary agricultural production & processing sectors, & marketing. 

The Commission approved a €30 million French scheme to compensate vineyard businesses in the Bordeaux area for the permanent uprooting of vines for plant health reasons. The assistance will be in the form of direct grants to small & medium-sized enterprises in Gironde engaged in viticulture. It will run until Dec 31 2025 and aims to reduce the density of the vineyards to combat the spread of leafhopper disease.

Tracking Pixel