Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from Lord Bach, Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to the Chairman

  I am writing to inform you of an issue which is to come before the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 25 April. This concerns a proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulations (EEC) No 2771/75 and (EEC) No 2777/75 as regards the application of exceptional market support measures.

  An Explanatory Memorandum was prepared and submitted on 12 April. The Explanatory Memorandum has been cleared by the Commons Scrutiny on 18 April but it has not proved possible to obtain scrutiny clearance from the Lords ahead of the vote in Council on 25 April.

  This proposal would provide a legal basis on which special emergency support measures for the poultry industry could be exercised to help alleviate the number of challenges resulting from avian influenza.

  It is unfortunate that scrutiny could not be completed in time for Council but I wish to inform your Committee of the Government's intention that it is long established UK policy not to use public funds to underpin changes as a result of market evolution. However we recognise these are exceptional times, and may demand exceptional measures. We are therefore considering the UK's response to the EC's proposal to legalise special emergency measures to respond to such challenges. We anticipate the Council of Agriculture Ministers voting on this on 25 April.

21 April 2006

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