A combination of factors, including higher production costs (fuel, fertilisers and feed), greater competition from third countries, low prices paid to farmers and the high cost of complying with EU environment, animal health , food safety and labour criteria, is putting at risk the EU livestock sector. Parliament approved on Thursday, by show of hands, a resolution listing a number of recommendations to help improve the situation.
MEPs call on the Commission to set up as a matter of urgency "efficient and flexible" market mechanisms to mitigate the impact of raising prices, particularly a "safety net" for all cereal sectors, and to make use of existing instruments to alleviate the crisis in the pig meat and other livestock sectors.
Speculation in European and world markets is also mentioned in the resolution. MEPs ask the Commission to tackle this issue in the framework of the new Financial Instruments Directive.
Imports and GMOs
EU livestock farmers have to meet high quality and environmental standards. MEPs therefore ask the Commission to ensure that meat imported from non-EU countries meets the same criteria, particularly EU rules on animal welfare, so as to prevent unfair competition. More specifically, the resolution stresses the need to safeguard EU interests when negotiating international trade agreements such as the accord with Mercosur.
On GMOs, MEPs call on the Commission to provide legal certainty for imports of soya and maize from third countries, by introducing a "pragmatic threshold" for the presence of GMOs not yet authorised in the EU.
New CAP: adequate funding needed
As part of the current review of the Common Agricultural Policy), MEPs want to ensure adequate funding for the livestock sector and a fair return to all farmers, partly by strengthening producers' organisations to enable them to negotiate better prices for their products.
The European Commission recently decided to release 2.8 million tonnes of cereals from storage by the end of November to keep feed material prices down.