Council's progress report on proposal for genetic resources in agriculture

April 19, 2002

Brussels, 18 April 2002

Proposal for a Council Regulation on the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture and amending Regulation (EC) No 1258/1999 (VOLUME I/II). Progress report from General Secretariat of the Council dated 22 March 2002. Brussels, 26 March 2002 (16.04) (document 7497/02 AGRI 72 AGRIFIN 32 RECH 62; No. prev. doc.: 6031/02 + ADD 1 and 2; No. prev. doc and Cion prop.: 13672/01 + ADD 1). Full text

Report from the Independent Expert Group to the Commission on the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1467/94 on the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture (VOLUME II/II)

Introduction

1. At the close of the first meeting of the Working Party on Genetic Resources in Agriculture dedicated to the examination of the above report and proposal, which took place on 4 February 2002, the Presidency had asked the Commission to provide a working document for a forthcoming meeting in order to clarify the many questions raised by delegations (see 6031/02 + ADD 1 and 2).

2. In preparation for the meeting on 22 March 2002, the Commission had provided a table indicating the different stages in the procedure that was the subject of the proposal and a working paper containing replies to the questions put by the United Kingdom delegation. The two documents are contained in Annexes I and II.

Progress made by the Working Party

3. The Working Party mainly focussed its discussions on the table provided by the Commission, on the one hand in order to try and appreciate the scope of the proposal in view of the new framework for the measures in the EAGGF Guarantee Section, and on the other hand to identify the innovations in relation to the previous system provided for under Regulation 1467/94 .

4. A representative of the Commission Directorate for Budgetary and Finance Matters in the DG for Agriculture gave delegations detailed explanations of the arrangements for the involvement of the EAGGF Guarantee Section.

5. On a general level, the Commission representatives indicated that two types of programming were possible, namely national programmes and national programmes including multinational projects. In order to implement them, a central unit (for example a Ministry) should be responsible for each national programme of each Member State. Within that unit one person would assume responsibility for implementing and monitoring the programmes and for monitoring the projects, including projects contained within multinational programmes.

6. The Commission's role would therefore be limited to ensuring coordination in order to avoid duplication of effort, and to determining the initial allocation and the annual allocations given to individual Member States. The allocations were indicative and did not necessarily involve payments. In addition, it was pointed out that the objective criteria referred to in Article 8(1) had not yet been determined.

7. The implementation arrangements would have to be determined by the Commission before Member States presented their programmes. The programmes were not intended to be adopted by the Commission which, apart from ensuring their coordination, would be limited to giving its opinion on the compatibility of the programmes with the Regulation's guidelines, following receipt of the opinion of a management committee.

8. At present the possibility had not been ruled out that the Commission might fix the scale of allocation between national and multinational projects as part of the implementation arrangements.

Conclusions

9. At the close of the Working Party's discussions, all delegations agreed to recognise the importance of explanations provided by the Commission representatives. The Chairman consequently asked delegations to clarify as far as possible their positions regarding the following four questions:
a. Funding by the EAGGF Guarantee Section
b. Responsibility of the parties
c. Funding of programmes
d. Arrangements for allocation of the EUR 10 million per annum between the Member States.

10. It was suggested that delegations might follow the layout of the note that the Belgian delegation had already drawn up on the matter, which is attached in Annex III.

It was agreed that replies should be sent to the General Secretariat of the Council before 19 April 2002 (christina.stromholm@consilium.eu.int).

11. In the light of delegations' replies, the Presidency reserved the right to determine the next step of the procedure, either by convening a further Working Party meeting or by presenting an interim report to the Special Committee on Agriculture....

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