Brussels, 24 November 2005
2692nd Council Meeting - Agriculture and Fisheries
Brussels, 22-24 November 2005
Provisional version (to be completed)
Commissioner Kyprianou provided the Council with an update on the latest developments on avian influenza (AI). He indicated that there were no cases of AI detected in the EU, with the exception of the infected imported bird detected in a quarantine centre in the United-Kingdom and that the outbreak in Romania had been confined to the Danube delta. He noted that a proposal would be presented soon at the Standing Committee on the food chain and animal health (SCFCAH) in order to maintain the current measures applicable in the EU, such as banning the import of live poultry and susceptible products from affected countries, allowing the Member States to vaccinate preventively birds in zoos or increasing biosecurity measures in high risk areas in the EU to prevent direct and indirect contact between wild birds and poultry, under certain conditions, until the bird migration next spring.
He also mentioned that the principle of regionalisation would be applied by the EU concerning the affected areas in the neighbouring countries (Romania, Turkey and Croatia).
As regards his recent visit to the South-east Asian countries affected by the highly pathogenic virus H5N1 Asian strain, he recalled that the EU budget had pledged to allocate.30 millions for the eradication of the AI in Asia and would bring its technical expertise with a view to the global ministerial pledging conference to be held on 17 and 18 January 2006 in Beijing (China). However he noted the difficulties for South-east Asian countries to implement plans to eradicate diseases, notably due to the endemic problems of close contact between humans and poultry in individual farm with the presence of backyards flocks. He also noted that most of these countries faced financial problems as regards the possible compensation to be granted to farmers for the culling of their poultry and recalled their needs for laboratory facilities and proper equipment. On the vaccination aspects, he indicated that the situation depended on each national authorities as Thailand forbid it and Indonesia launched a massive campaign of vaccination in 2004.
He finally underlined the need for Member States and the Commission to work in a coordinated manner on bilateral aid in order to avoid excessive or insufficient support to a third country affected by the disease, and insisted on the need to work on migratory wild birds and to establish close bridges between the Community reference laboratories and these countries.
The Belgian delegation asked for the re-examination of some of the measures taken at Community level by the SCFCAH. The French delegation noted the heavy financial consequences of the AI on the poultry industry, the positive reaction taken at the management Committee on poultry meat and eggs on 16 November, but asked for an increase of the export refunds on poultry meat, including on new destinations (North-African countries, Egypt, Cuba and South Africa), as well as a Community co-financing to national advertising campaign on poultry meat in the EU and urged the Commission to react rapidly to crisis situation. The delegation of the Netherlands welcomed the preventive vaccination in zoos and noted the support for preventive vaccination expressed at the level of the European Parliament and that the research on migratory wild birds in China was financed by the EU budget. The German delegation recalled its. 5 millions grant signed with the Food and Alimentation Organisation for Laos and Cambodia in a bilateral agreement.
The Presidency indicated it will return on this issue at the December Council when the proposals on the AI (Proposal for a Council Directive on Community measures for the control of Avian Influenza.
Proposal for a Council decision amending Council Decision 90/424/EEC on expenditure in the veterinary field) will be on the agenda.