Monday, 24 March 2008

EU TFEU: Common agriculture and fisheries policy

The common agricultural policy (CAP), including the fisheries policy, of the European Community (European Union) is one of the most conspicuous features of European integration.

Naturally, each farmer and fisherman is a stakeholder, but so is every consumer and taxpayer in the European Union. In short, every citizen of the EU should know the legal and political basics of the CAP.

Here we begin by looking at the fundamental provisions as they stand when the Lisbon Treaty enters into force.


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Were the European leaders worried enough by the flagging spirits of the so called Eurosceptic anti-EU crowd to devise this supporting action to keep them going and to stimulate recruitment?

Not only was the ‘constitutional concept’ abandoned, but all pretence at plain English (as well as Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish).

Anyway, arriving at a new Title we find the intergovernmental conference (IGC 2007) true to its form. Although very little actual change takes place, the master communicators of the IGC 2007 fully used the opportunity to make the reading experience of the amending Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) as unrewarding as possible, requiring the concurrent perusal of the existing treaties to make any sense.

Here is what the Lisbon Treaty has to say at the beginning of the new Title of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), becoming the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/53):

AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES

46) In the heading of Title II, the words ‘AND FISHERIES’ shall be added.

47) Article 32 shall be amended as follows:

(a) in paragraph 1, the following new first subparagraph shall be inserted:

‘1. The Union shall define and implement a common agriculture and fisheries policy.’, the current text of paragraph 1 shall become the second subparagraph.

In the second subparagraph, the word ‘, fisheries’ shall be inserted after ‘agriculture’ in the first sentence and the following sentence shall be added as the last sentence of the subparagraph: ‘References to the common agricultural policy or to agriculture, and the use of the term “agricultural”, shall be understood as also referring to fisheries, having regard to the specific characteristics of this sector.’

(b) in paragraph 2, the words ‘and functioning’ shall be inserted after the word ‘establishment’.

(c) in paragraph 3, the words ‘to this Treaty’ shall be deleted.

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We have been sent off to fetch the current Article 32 TEC (found in the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJ 29.12.2006 C 321/53-54):

TITLE II
AGRICULTURE

Article 32 TEC

1. The common market shall extend to agriculture and trade in agricultural products. ‘Agricultural products’ means the products of the soil, of stockfarming and of fisheries and products of first-stage processing directly related to these products.

2. Save as otherwise provided in Articles 33 to 38, the rules laid down for the establishment of the common market shall apply to agricultural products.

3. The products subject to the provisions of Articles 33 to 38 are listed in Annex I to this Treaty.

4. The operation and development of the common market for agricultural products must be accompanied by the establishment of a common agricultural policy.

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The materials are now at the plant. Assembly can start. This is what appears at the end of the assembly line after joining the numbering of the Tables of equivalences with the express amendments and horizontal amendment 2(g), thrice replacing the ‘common market’ by ‘internal market’:

PART THREE – POLICIES AND INTERNAL ACTIONS OF THE UNION

Title II (renumbered Title III) Agriculture and fisheries

Article 32 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Article 38 TFEU

1. The Union shall define and implement a common agriculture and fisheries policy.

The internal market shall extend to agriculture, fisheries and trade in agricultural products. ‘Agricultural products’ means the products of the soil, of stockfarming and of fisheries and products of first-stage processing directly related to these products. References to the common agricultural policy or to agriculture, and the use of the term “agricultural”, shall be understood as also referring to fisheries, having regard to the specific characteristics of this sector.

2. Save as otherwise provided in Articles 33 to 38 [ToL, new numbering Articles 39 to 44 TFEU], the rules laid down for the establishment and functioning of the internal market shall apply to agricultural products.

3. The products subject to the provisions of Articles 33 to 38 [ToL, new numbering 39 to 44 TFEU] are listed in Annex I.

4. The operation and development of the internal market for agricultural products must be accompanied by the establishment of a common agricultural policy.

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For easy comparison with the prior phases of the treaty reform process, here are the relevant provisions of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, as proposed by the European Convention. Section 4 Agriculture and fisheries would have been placed away from the Titles on free movement, in Chapter III Policies in other specific areas (after Chapter I Internal market and Chapter II Economic and monetary policy) (OJ 18.7.2003 C 169/51):

SECTION 4
Agriculture and fisheries

Article III-121 Draft Constitution

The Union shall define and implement a common agriculture and fisheries policy.

‘Agricultural products’ means the products of the soil, of stockfarming and of fisheries and products of first-stage processing directly related to these products. References to the common agricultural policy or to agriculture, and the use of the term ‘agricultural’, shall be understood as also referring to fisheries, having regard to the specific characteristics of this sector.

Article III-122 Draft Constitution

1. The internal market shall extend to agriculture and trade in agricultural products.

2. Save as otherwise provided in Articles III-123 to III-128, the rules laid down for the establishment of the internal market shall apply to agricultural products.

3. The products listed in Annex I (*) shall be subject to Articles III-123 to III-128.

4. The operation and development of the internal market for agricultural products must be accompanied by the establishment of a common agricultural policy.

[* The asterisk indicated that Annex I had to be drawn up.]

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The IGC 2004 took over the draft text in the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (OJ 16.12.2004 C 310/99-100):

SECTION 4
AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES

Article III-225 Constitution

The Union shall define and implement a common agriculture and fisheries policy.

‘Agricultural products’ means the products of the soil, of stockfarming and of fisheries and products of first-stage processing directly related to these products. References to the common agricultural policy or to agriculture, and the use of the term ‘agricultural’, shall be understood as also referring to fisheries, having regard to the specific characteristics of this sector.

Article III-226 Constitution

1. The internal market shall extend to agriculture and trade in agricultural products.

2. Save as otherwise provided in articles III-227 to III-232, the rules laid down for the establishment and functioning of the internal market shall apply to agricultural products.

3. The products listed in Annex I shall be subject to Articles III-227 to III-232.

4. The operation and development of the internal market for agricultural products must be accompanied by a common agricultural policy.

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The Constitutional Treaty took over the wording of the draft Constitution with minimal adjustments. The referrals to Articles were adjusted technically, and in the second paragraph ‘and functioning’ was added to the internal market, while ‘the establishment of’ a common agricultural policy was deleted in paragraph 4 of Article III-226.

The Lisbon Treaty merges the Articles of the Constitution and shifts the sentences without altering the contents.

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Here are the contents of Annex I – the List referred to in Article 32 TEC as presented in the latest consolidated version (OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/183-185, where it is presented as an easier to read table). The numbers of chapters and positions refer to the Brussels nomenclature and the following text describes the products:

ANNEX I
LIST
referred to in Article 32 of the Treaty

Chapter 1 Live animals

Chapter 2 Meat and edible meat offal

Chapter 3 Fish, crustaceans and molluscs

Chapter 4 Dairy produce; birds' eggs; natural honey

Chapter 5

05.04 Guts, bladders and stomachs of animals (other than fish), whole and pieces thereof

05.15 Animal products not elsewhere specified or included; dead animals of Chapter 1 or Chapter 3, unfit for human consumption

Chapter 6 Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage

Chapter 7 Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers

Chapter 8 Edible fruit and nuts; peel of melons or citrus fruit

Chapter 9 Coffee, tea and spices, excluding maté (heading No 0903)

Chapter 10 Cereals

Chapter 11 Products of the milling industry; malt and starches; gluten; inulin

Chapter 12 Oil seeds and oleaginous fruit; miscellaneous grains, seeds and fruit; industrial and medical plants; straw and fodder

Chapter 13

ex 13.03 Pectin

Chapter 15

15.01 Lard and other rendered pig fat; rendered poultry fat

15.02 Unrendered fats of bovine cattle, sheep or goats; tallow (including ‘premier jus’) produced from those fats

15.03 Lard stearin, oleostearin and tallow stearin; lard oil, oleo-oil and tallow oil, not emulsified or mixed or prepared in any way

15.04 Fats and oil, of fish and marine mammals, whether or not refined

15.07 Fixed vegetable oils, fluid or solid, crude, refined or purified

15.12 Animal or vegetable fats and oils, hydrogenated, whether or not refined, but not further prepared

15.13 Margarine, imitation lard and other prepared edible fats

15.17 Residues resulting from the treatment of fatty substances or animal or vegetable waxes

Chapter 16 Preparations of meat, of fish, of crustaceans or molluscs

Chapter 17

17.01 Beet sugar and cane sugar, solid

17.02 Other sugars; sugar syrups; artificial honey (whether or not mixed with natural honey); caramel

17.03 Molasses, whether or not decolourised

17.05 Flavoured or coloured sugars, syrups and molasses, but not including fruit juices containing added sugar in any proportion

Chapter 18

18.01 Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted

18.02 Cocoa shells, husks, skins and waste

Chapter 20 Preparations of vegetables, fruit or other parts of plants

Chapter 22

22.04 Grape must, in fermentation or with fermentation arrested otherwise than by the addition of alcohol

22.05 Wine of fresh grapes; grape must with fermentation arrested by the addition of alcohol

22.07 Other fermented beverages (for example, cider, perry and mead)

ex 22.08
ex 22.09
Ethyl alcohol or neutral spirits, whether or not denatured, of any strength, obtained from agricultural products listed in Annex I to the Treaty, excluding liqueurs and other spirituous beverages and compound alcoholic preparations (known as ‘concentrated extracts’) for the manufacture of beverages

ex 22.10 Vinegar and substitutes for vinegar

Chapter 23 Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal fodder

Chapter 24

24.01 Unmanufactured tobacco, tobacco refuse

Chapter 45
45.01 Natural cork, unworked, crushed, granulated or ground; waste cork

Chapter 54

54.01 Flax, raw or processed but not spun; flax tow and waste (including pulled or garnetted rags)

Chapter 57

57.01 True hemp (Cannabis sativa), raw or processed but not spun; tow and waste of
true hemp (including pulled or garnetted rags or ropes)

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Adding fisheries to the Title heading and the text of the Article takes account of existing practice.

Aware of the highly regulated and protectionist nature of the common agriculture and fisheries policy as well as the massive support mechanisms, the reader may be astonished to find out that in principle the rules for the establishment and functioning of the internal market apply to agricultural products.

The concept of first-stage processing is important, as is Annex I listing the products.


Ralf Grahn