On 1 January 2013, Ireland took over the presidency of the European Union’s Council of Ministers for the seventh time since it joined the European Union 40 years ago. It is the first presidency of a trio with Lithuania (second half 2013) and Greece (first half 2014). For the next 18 months, the trio will set the European agenda.
Regarding agriculture and fisheries, the Irish presidency has identified three priority areas in its programme:
1. The reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP),
2. A Five-part legislative package reviewing Animal and Plant Health policies,
and 3. The Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
For animal welfare aspects the second point, the five-part legislative package, is especially important. As the European Commission is due to publish a package of five proposals relating to phyto-sanitary, veterinary and food safety measures, the Irish Presidency is planning to start discussions with the new Animal Health Law. One of the objectives here, is to establish a clearer regulatory structure for animal health across the EU. This includes the revision of several legislation, such as the official controls of food and feed regulation.
In the field of animal husbandry, the programme states to re-worklegislation for medicated feed where a proposal from the Commission is expected in the second quarter of 2013. Also, as follow-up of a report from the Commission from 2010, a proposal on cloning animals for food is expected.
Other animal welfare-related goals mentioned in the programme are the review of the zootechnical legislation, the finalization of the revision of the 998/2003 regulation on the non-commercial movement of pet animals and, finally, food security will be a topic during the Irish presidency too. During its term, Ireland wants to look at the “Food and Feed Expenditure” regulation, which deals, among others, with the management of the food chain, animal welfare and plant health.