Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report

REFORM OF THE EU SUGAR REGIME (10514/05, 10598/05)

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

  I am writing further to my letters of 22 November and 9 December 2005[93] to bring you up to date with developments on the sugar reform dossier.

  We will very shortly be letting you have a formal Government response to the report from Sub-Committee D which Tim Renton forwarded to Margaret Beckett under cover of his letter to her of 9 December 2005.

  In the meantime, following delivery of European Parliament Opinions on the original reform proposals on 19 January 2006, the Austrian Presidency has been organising meetings of the Special Committee for Agriculture and its Sugar Working Group to examine three draft legal instruments prepared by the European Commission to give effect to the compromise agreement reached under our Presidency at the November 2005 Agriculture and Fisheries Council.

  That process is now virtually complete and the Austrian Presidency's current plan is to invite Member States to adopt all three Regulations at the Council meeting on 20 February under the "false B" point procedure, which will allow those Member States not in agreement to make short statements explaining their position.

  This will therefore take place before your Committee has had an opportunity to consider our response to the report from Sub-Committee D and to complete its own deliberations. In the circumstances, however, and particularly given the need for early legal certainty so that all concerned can take appropriate steps before the new regime takes effect from 1 July 2006, I hope you understand that we will not be able to maintain a scrutiny reservation on 20 February but will need to signify our definitive agreement.

  The texts as they now stand do contain some variations from what was agreed in November. These are mainly technical, except in respect of a new power for the Commission to vary quota allocations in the first year of the new regime if this is necessary in order to stabilise the market. Member States are content with this approach, which reflects the Commission's latest assessment of the likely balance of supply and demand. As with other aspects of implementation, this will be subject to detailed rules to be adopted under Management Committee procedure once the new Regulations are published and take effect.

15 February 2006

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

  I am writing to follow-up the commitment given by my predecessor Lord Bach in the debate in the House of Lords on 23 March 2006 regarding reform of the EU sugar regime, to provide to Parliament the Government's full and final Regulatory Impact Assessment.

  This updates and supersedes the analysis provided in the Government's Partial RIA published in June 2005. As you will see, it now includes the impact of the agreement on reform reached at the November 2005 Agriculture Council and formally adopted in February this year.

23 May 2006

Letter from the Chairman to Gareth Thomas MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development

  I write regarding the above proposal which EU Sub-Committee D (Environment and Agriculture) scrutinised in their report Too much or too little? Changes to the EU Sugar Regime (18th Report, session 2005-06, HL Paper 80). We note that the proposal was adopted in February.

  We would be grateful to receive an update as to the EU funding and other measures that will be made available for each of the years 2007-13 to Sugar Protocol countries affected by the reform of the EU sugar regime. We note that the proposal aimed to establish country-specific adaptation programmes with each of the countries affected to ensure that the funding provided is tailored to each country. We would be pleased if you could provide details of the programmes that have been agreed, and could give an overall assessment of the progress made in offering financial and technical assistance to Sugar Protocal countries.

5 June 2006

93   Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of Session 2005-06, HL Paper 243, p 364-366. Back

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