The Bali Ministerial Conference of the (World Trade Organization) concluded a day later than scheduled on 7 December 2013 with agreement on a package of issues designed to streamline trade, allow developing countries more options for providing food security, boost least developed countries’ trade and help development more generally. In addition to the Bali Package, ministers formally adopted a number of more routine decisions at the end of a five-day meeting opened by Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which also saw Yemen accepted as a new member.
The European Commission proposed on Wednesday 6 November that governments approve genetically modified crops for cultivation in Europe, for use in food and feed as well as for import. The proposal covers an insect-resistant maize developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical which, if approved, would end Monsanto's current monopoly in Europe's tiny market for GMO crops. The Commission said it was "duty bound" to make the proposal after Europe's second-highest court in September censured the EU executive for lengthy delays in the approval process, first launched back in 2001.
A group of 23 countries* attacked the European Commission (EC) in an expert meeting, on 11 November, accusing it of ignoring the agreement on reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) when drafting rules to implement the new measures. The member states have bandied together to try to make EFAs – Ecological Focus Areas – less ecologically focused. France, Spain, Poland and Italy were among those countries that backed the joint note to the Commission appealing it to “urgently correct” inconsistencies between the draft rules and the terms of the CAP agreement.
The organic sector in the European Union (EU) has been rapidly developing during the past years, the report "Facts and Figures on Organic Farming" issued today by the European Commission (EC) points out. The report gives an overview of organic agriculture in Europe based on the data available and its evolution over recent years. It shows in particular that organic holdings are overall bigger than conventional farms in the EU and their managers are younger.
European Union (EU) diplomats and the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) approved, on 8 November, the proposal delay the sale of 900 million tonnes of carbon permits until later this decade in order to prop up carbon prices in the bloc's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). They gave the Lithuanian Presidency a mandate to negotiate with the European Parliament, just days after Berlin confirmed its support for the measure on 4 November.