Written QeA to EU Commission – COOL for dairy products

In the following answer, the EU Commission clearly closes the door to an immediate adoption of a rule about the mandatory country of origin labelling for milk, milk used as ingredients in dairy products and other types of meat, in the light of the study published on 20th May 2015 and commented in this former article.

Question for written answer to the Commission – Miguel Viegas (GUE/NGL) –  15th June 2015

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the provision of food information to consumers (‘INCO Regulation’) introduced a set of provisions relating to indications of origin on the labelling of foodstuffs.

Article 26(5) and (6) of this regulation urges the Commission to submit a series of reports to the European Parliament and the Council concerning the possibility of extending mandatory declaration of origin on the label to other foodstuffs.

In this respect, the Commission published a report on 20 May 2015 on the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for milk, milk used as an ingredient in dairy products and other types of meat apart from swine, sheep, goat and poultry meat.

Based on various scenarios (1 — 6), the report stresses the high costs arising from overly restrictive regulations on this subject and is inconclusive as regards consumers’ readiness to bear the costs of such a measure.

What is the Commission’s assessment of the report and what consequences will it have in terms of the INCO Regulation?

Answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the Commission – 28th August 2015

The report on mandatory origin labelling of milk, milk used as an ingredient in dairy products and other types of meat concludes that voluntary labelling is the most suitable option: it addresses consumers’ interest in relation to origin information without imposing additional burdens on food business operators and the authorities. Providing for the mandatory origin labelling would negatively impact food business operators, in particular those located in border areas and those dealing with highly processed products, and would put additional burden on national administrations.

Based on those conclusions, the Commission does not intend to propose any legislative action at this stage.

(Source: European Parliament website)

Written QeA to EU Commission – IUU Regulation (combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing)

Question for written answer to the Commission – Nicola Caputo (S&D) – 4th December 2014

During the confirmation hearings for the Juncker Commission, the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said that his priority will be to protect the natural capital on which sustainable growth depends and safeguard the health and well-being of citizens. He also said that he wanted to consult very soon with the European Parliament and the Council on updating the IUU Regulation.

Furthermore, it is a known fact that illegal fishing is a threat to the sustainable use of resources and compromises the common fisheries policy and international efforts to improve the management of ocean resources and seas.

In light of the above, can the Commission, as a whole and without prejudice to the competences of the Member States, explain how it proposes to:

1. more effectively combat this highly profitable practice, restricting access to the market to certified products only?
2. guarantee greater surveillance and more effective sanctions for violations?
3. increase awareness of the practice among consumers and users?

Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission – 3rd February 2015

The EU has put in place a comprehensive system of rules dealing with the control of fishing activities, the combat of illegal fishing and the elimination of the access of IUU fish to the EU market as set out in the Control(1) and IUU Regulations(2).

With respect to the combat of the IUU activities the Commission is working on the following areas:

Establishing a global and integrated common approach to fisheries control ‘from the net to the plate’,
Enhancing mutual cooperation between all Member States, third countries, the Commission and the European Fishery Control Agency,
Developing a culture of compliance for all stakeholders and disseminating useful information to raise awareness,
Ensuring a level-playing field across the EU in terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the EU IUU rules,
Applying effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for serious infringements against these rules,
Guiding Member States on issues concerning the application of the EU catch certification system,
Promoting robust and targeted controls at EU ports through an active use of the mutual assistance system, exchange of information and best practices between the Commission and Member States,
Cooperating with third countries in addressing IUU problems and achieving structural changes in their fisheries management systems to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.

The Commission intends to continue and reinforce its work in those areas in the coming years.

(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20.11.2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, OJ L343/1, 22.12.2009.
(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, OJ L 286/1, 29.10.2008.

(Source: European Parliament)