Documents considered by the Committee on 20 October 2010 - European Scrutiny Committee Contents

10 Specific measures for agriculture in the outermost regions



+ ADD 1

COM(10) 501

Commission Report on the impact of the POSEI reform of 2006


COM(10) 498

Draft Regulation laying down specific rules for agriculture in the outermost regions of the Union

Legal base

Articles 42 and 43 TFEU; co-decision; QMV

Documents originated24 September 2010
Deposited in Parliament28 September 2010
DepartmentEnvironment, Food & Rural Affairs
Basis of considerationEM of 18 October 2010
Previous Committee ReportNone
To be discussed in CouncilNo date set
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionCleared


10.1 Because of their remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography and climate, and economic dependence on a few products, it has long been recognised that the outermost regions of the EU require additional help, and in particular they have benefited from a specific regime under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) — the POSEI scheme (Programmes d'Options Spécifiques a l'Enloignement et l'Insularité) — to support local production and the supply of essential products. At present, nine regions in three Member States are listed in the relevant EU measure (Council Regulation (EC) No 247/2006 — six French overseas departments[28] (DOMs), the Azores and Madeira, and the Canary Islands. In these two documents, the Commission has reported upon the operation of the POSEI programmes since they were last amended in 2006, and has proposed a new Regulation to incorporate a number of changes which it considers to be necessary.

The current documents


10.2 The Commission notes that the POSEI scheme has two main elements:

  • Specific Supply Arrangements (SSA), providing for exemptions from import duties on certain products in order to mitigate the supply costs of those used for the everyday consumption or the manufacture of essential foodstuffs;
  • Measures to maintain or develop support for local production (SLP) by developing their processing and/or marketing.

It also points out that the EU's budgetary provision for the Programme for 2011 and subsequent years amounts to €653 million, of which €278 million is allocated to France, €268 million to Spain, and €106 million to Portugal, with €107 million being earmarked for Specific Supply Agreements and the balance of €546 million being used to support local agricultural production. It concludes that the Programme has achieved its main objectives, but notes that, in some cases, the resources allocated have been exhausted, and in particular that the annual SSA budget is nearly fully executed in almost all the regions in question.


10.3 In the light of this analysis, the Commission has proposed a new Regulation which would re-cast Council Regulation (EC) No 247/2006, and in the process simplify some of its provisions and align it to the new comitology provisions of the TFEU. In particular, whilst retaining the existing financial allocations, it would increase by 20% the maximum annual SSA ceilings for France and Portugal, and it would also seek to reduce the administrative burden by deferring by two months the deadline by which the three Member States have to submit to the commission their annual programme modifications.

The Government's view

10.4 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 18 October 2010 the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Mr Jim Paice) says that the new comitology provisions arising from the TFEU will require detailed scrutiny, and he also suggests that, although the direct impact of these measures in the UK are minimal, the value for money of the POSEI Programme is open to question, not least in the current climate. In particular, he notes that the Programme is open-ended, and says that logic suggests that, if it is achieving its aims, the financial support should diminish over time as better infrastructure and more sustainable competition bases are established, notably as regards the supporting of local production.


10.5 Since the outermost regions as defined here clearly face particular problems of the sort identified by the Commission, we accept that there is a case for providing them with some kind of special assistance, and, as the Minister's Explanatory Memorandum suggests, the impact of the measures proposed in the UK is minimal. Having said that, the sums involved each year are by no means negligible, and we note the Government's view that, if the measures are achieving their stated aims, the need for financial support from the EU should diminish over time — a consideration not reflected in the current proposal. Consequently, although we do not propose to withhold clearance, we think it right to draw the proposal to the attention of the House.

28   Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique, Reunion, Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin. Back

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