European egg market

30 April 2013    


Alain Cadec (PPE)

The French egg industry is currently facing major competition problems in the European egg market. The application of Implementing Regulation (EU) No 88/2013 on egg imports from third countries and the application of Directive 1999/74/EC on animal welfare are causing serious problems on the market.

Egg prices are at rock bottom, even though producers have invested huge amounts of money to ensure that their production sites meet current standards following the application of the directive on animal welfare. This fall in egg prices is due in particular to the application of Regulation (EU) No 88/2013 on egg imports from third countries.

Can the Commission demonstrate that all measures have been taken with regard to reciprocity and traceability of eggs from third countries?

Can the Commission demonstrate that stringent checks are carried out to verify compliance with Directive 1999/74/EC by the Member States and third countries exporting to the European Union?

Will the Commission shortly propose that eggs be classified as ‘sensitive goods’ in trade negotiations so that they receive a smaller tariff reduction than the one applied to non-food goods? This would mean that genuine reciprocity with third-country eggs and egg products could be established.

4 July 2013    
Answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission

The European Union has harmonised animal and public health legislation in place for imports of products of animal origin, including eggs and egg products. The Commission carries out audits in Member States and third countries to check its implementation and takes appropriate actions when this legislation is not applied.

The decrease of egg prices observed since January is linked to the adjustment of prices after the exceptionally high prices in 2012 followed by an oversupply of eggs in 2013. Regulation (EU) No 88/2013(1) authorising Ukraine to export to the EU eggs and egg products under certain conditions entered into force on 21 February 2013 has had no effect on the Union egg market so far, since there were no imports of egg or egg products from Ukraine between February and May 2013.

As regards verifying compliance with Directive 1999/74/EC(2) the Commission refers to its reply to Parliamentary Question E-4763/2013(3).

During free trade agreements' negotiations with third countries, the Commission always examines the potential positive and negative effects of such agreements on the egg and egg product market. Depending on the third country, the Commission can obtain advantages to export these products or alternatively can consider them as sensitive and limit possible concessions to third countries' imports.

(1)    OJ L 32, 1.2.2013.
(2)    OJ L203, 3.8.1999.