AGRICULTURE: JEAN GLAVANY OUTLINES FRENCH PRESIDENCY'S PRIORITIES TO PARLIAMENT.

In addition to the many subjects tackled and agreed at the Farm Council on 17 and 18 July (flax and hemp, prices package for 2000/2001, school milk, beef labelling, combating transmissible spongiform encephalopathies - TSEs), France aims to conclude and push forward a large number of dossiers.Sectors in crisis.Jean Glavany declared that intensive efforts will be made under the French Presidency to outline "options for progress" regarding the proposal for a European Commission Regulation establishing a Regulation Fund for pigmeat. The last Farm Council conducted a first examination of the proposal, providing Member States with an opportunity to outline their different positions. The French Minister described this as a delicate dossier, emphasising the need to draw the lessons of the latest crisis, the longest and hardest yet to hit the sector. The aim must be to provide the Community with the necessary instruments to ensure better management of the pigmeat market. The French Minister said he was counting on the European Parliament's Opinion to move the debate on and introduce novel and constructive ideas that will give new hope to farmers.Regarding the proposal for a Regulation of the common market organisation (CMO) for rice, presented by the Commission on 7 June, Jean Glavany indicated that Ministers, in collaboration with MEPs, will need to consider the guidelines for a new policy that will enable the European rice sector to overcome present difficulties. Mr Glavany indicated that this is essentially an internal issue regarding the EU's domestic markets, unlike the on-going dispute over bananas, in respect of which the European Union is accused of breaching WTO rules.Market policy.The French Presidency intends to make progress on agricultural markets policy issues and attaches considerable importance to the reform of the CMOs for fruit and vegetables and sugar. Insisting that reform of the for fruit and vegetables regime must be dealt with "diligently", Jean Glavany told MEPs that one focus for attention would be a review of financing procedures for operational funds in the fruit and vegetables sector, in order to give producer organisations a greater incentive to invest and structure themselves into competitive and effective entities. A technical proposal to this...

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