European Union prepares for swift approval of trade deal with Mercosur after European elections

The European Union is preparing for the swift approval of a trade agreement with Mercosur after the European elections on 06-09/06/2024, according to Brussels' chief negotiator Rupert Schlegelmilch. Schlegelmilch is continuing to negotiate with Mercosur countries to ensure that all requirements are met and problematic issues are resolved. He said the agreement is currently very much alive.
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Special Committee on Agriculture supports changes to cross-compliance rules under the Common Agricultural Policy to reduce administrative burden on farmers, rules to be approved by Council of Ministers on 13/05/2024

The Special Committee on Agriculture has supported changes to cross-compliance rules under the Common Agricultural Policy to reduce the administrative burden on farmers. Germany abstained, arguing that the proposed measures undermine the environmental ambitions of the CAP. Germany believes that the reduction of red tape is necessary and that the adjustments to GAEC 8 are needed, but that the policy objectives of the European Union, including the Green Deal, should not be undermined. Despite Germany's abstention, the necessary legal changes will be included in the country's national strategic plan for the coming year. Now only the EU Council needs to endorse the rule change, on 13/05/2024 during the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council.

Future EU budget will need to be able to address new challenges and unexpected problems, says Budget Commissioner

The future budget of the European Union (Multiannual Financial Framework) will need to be able to address new challenges and unexpected problems, according to Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn. Hahn said there is a need to ensure that the budget has the necessary flexibility and appropriate speed to respond to new challenges, and there should be a debate on whether the EU is currently funding the right priorities with the right instruments. He said the Union should strengthen the revenue side, including through new own resources.

Short-term outlook for agricultural markets: input prices remain high compared to 2019, fertilizer production recovers, grain production increases, beef and pork consumption and production decline, poultry consumption increases

On 03/05/2024, the European Commission published a report on the short-term outlook for EU agricultural markets for spring 2024. The effects of the climate and geopolitical crisis are having an impact on productivity, trade, consumer demand, prices and, as a consequence, farmers' income. Input prices continue to remain above pre-Coronavir crisis levels despite declines. Fertiliser production in the EU is recovering, but imports remain high. The food price index has decreased compared to 2022, but has not yet fully impacted food prices. However, the price index is 43% higher than in 2015 (even 65% in PL and 69% in LT). EU cereal production is projected to increase by 3% to 278.5 million tonnes in 2024/25. Sugar production will be higher at 15.6 million tonnes, sugar consumption is not yet increasing due to persistently high prices. Despite the declining number of dairy cows in the EU (-0.5%), milk supply is expected to remain stable (+0.4%). Per capita beef consumption in the EU fell to 9.7 kg in 2023 (-4.7% compared to 2022), consumption is also expected to fall by 2.8% in 2024, with production falling accordingly. Pork production fell by 6.6% in 2023 and the decline could slow to 0.4% this year. Poultry meat consumption increased by 3% in 2023 and is expected to rise by a further 2% in 2024.
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Higher taxes on foods high in fat, sugar and salt have a positive impact on reducing obesity worldwide, according to an Imperial College study

Imperial College has published a study on the impact of tax increases on high fat, high sugar and high salt foods (HFSS) on the global obesity problem. Specifically, the study looked at the impact of high taxes on sales of these products. The research was conducted in 20 countries around the world, including Mexico, the US, Canada, Hungary, Denmark, the Netherlands, Singapore and New Zealand. Higher taxes on these foods in Mexico caused an 18% drop in sales from supermarkets and a 40% drop in sales from resellers. However, results from North America and New Zealand show that a combination of measures to increase taxes on HFSS foods and subsidies for healthier options such as fruit and vegetables are needed to reduce obesity. The study also recommends increasing the availability of healthy and affordable foods to maximise the effectiveness of the measures.
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