Press Release - Dialogue, compromises and mutual understanding key to success for CAP Reform and environmental protection
11.07.2012, 21:03 (CET)
The Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Sofoclis Aletraris, presented on July 10 and 11, the Cyprus Presidency Priorities at the Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) and Fisheries (PECH) committees of the European Parliament.

Sustainable Agriculture

Referring to the negotiations on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform, Mr. Aletraris stressed that the main objective of the Cyprus Presidency is the adoption of a partial general approach on the four draft Regulations which make up the CAP Reform, at November’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council.

He underlined that the Cyprus Presidency will make every effort, based on the excellent cooperation between the Council and the European Parliament, in order to have the Vine-growers Regulation and the Transitional Regulation for Direct Payments enter into force as planned on January 1, 2013.  In parallel, he added that the efforts for the “Lisbon Alignment” on particular agricultural files including 'outermost regions', 'smaller Aegean islands' and 'organic farming’ will be continued. Replying to the comments of the Committee’s Members, Minister Aletraris noted that the Cyprus Presidency provides special attention to the simplification and the reduction of the administrative burden on the implementation of the CAP.

Regarding the field of animal health, animal production and food of animal origin, Mr. Aletraris noted that the Commission is expected to submit a series of important pieces of legislation during the Cyprus Presidency.

Viable Fisheries

On Fisheries, the minister emphasised that the main objective of the Cyprus Presidency is to move the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) Reform package forward.  He underlined that this should include a sustainable exploitation of fish stocks and ensure a viable and prosperous future for European fishermen.  Specifically, the Minister informed the members of the PECH Committee that the objective of Cyprus Presidency is to achieve a partial general approach for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

Another priority of Cyprus Presidency, Mr. Aletraris said, is the on-time adoption of the proposals regarding Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and Quotas, the technical measures and the 12 mile access regime. He reiterated that decisions to be taken should be on the basis of social cohesion and in the best interests of the European fishermen, in order to make the profession decent and sustainable.

Environmental protection

On issues relating to the environment, the areas of water and climate change constituted the main concern for the Members of the ENVI Committee. The minister stressed the importance of water to life, welfare and sustainable development, adding that Council conclusion on the Blueprint to safeguard European Waters will be adopted. This will be based on the document that will be presented by the European Commission next November.

On Climate Change, Minister Aletraris referred in particular to the work that has to be done on the way to Doha in order to achieve a valuable outcome.  He also expressed his satisfaction by the collective effort exerted by all member states towards keeping the EU in the front line when it comes to controlling climate change. 

Referring to “greening” Europe, the Cypriot Minister said that “our target is to send a strong political message from the Environment Council to the Spring European Council of 2013, aimed at greening the European semester”, adding that the agenda of the Environment Council in December will include a policy debate on this issue.  

According to Mr. Aletraris, through the negative impacts of the current unstable economic environment, the necessity has emerged for targeted approaches in favour of sustainable development. Referring to the Rio+20 outcome, the minister underlined that this will be discussed at the October Council, with the goal of adopting Council Conclusions.

Mr. Aletraris expressed his confidence that Cyprus will have a successful presidency, despite its small size. It will be governed by transparency and objectivity. 

“Only through dialogue, compromises and mutual understanding we can agree on policies that reflect the legitimate aspirations of society”, he concluded.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Marianna Karageorgis

Coreper I

Telephone: +32 27404002
Mobile: +32 473858237
Advisor, Communications Officer
Christodoulos Photiou

Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment
Agriculture and Fisheries
Telephone: +357 22408333
Advisor, Communications Officer
Nikos Georgiades

Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment
Telephone: +357 22408324