The priorities of the Italian Council Presidency were outlined to the various parliamentary committees by Italian ministers in a series of meetings held in July and September.
Agriculture: Russia’s EU food import ban, trade deals and milk
The Council’s Italian Presidency will seek to expand "very rapid response" measures taken by the Commission so far to alleviate the effects of Russia’s ban on food imports from the EU, farm minister Maurizio Martina told the Agriculture Committee on Wednesday. The Council may even work to strengthen existing tools to enable the EU to cope better with such crises in future, he added in reply to MEPs calling on him to do more to support EU farmers.
The Italian Presidency’s key priorities will include reform of EU rules on organic farming, on which the Council could agree by the end of this year, and progress towards a balanced agreement on cultivating GMOs, said Mr Martina. He and his team will also try to speed up the legislative process for updating school fruit and milk schemes and will closely monitor dairy market developments with a view to finding ways to further help the milk sector once the quota system is abolished in 2015, he added.
The Presidency will also follow closely international trade negotiations, in particular for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), he said, stressing that although the EU should focus on "opportunities these agreements might bring", it "should not hide their downsides".
Thursday September 25, 2014/ European Parliament / European Union.