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PUBLICATIONS, Structural and Cohesion Policies

Promotion and information actions for agricultural products

The European Commission policy on promotion and information actions for agricultural products in the internal market and in third countries has been evolving since the 1980s. Starting with a specific support to some agricultural sectors under individual regulations, the current policy is ruled by Council Regulation 3/2008 and Commission Regulation 501/2008. Currently, the promotion support includes a large number of agricultural products and food stuff, the latter at the first processing stage.

Promotion and information actions for agricultural products

© Malgorzata Kistryn / Fotolia

The main objective of this policy is to improve consumers’ image and raise the public’s awareness of the quality of the products and their production methods in order to expand the demand in the European Union (EU) and / or open new markets in third countries. To this end, the EU, its member states and the professional organisations co-finance and jointly organise promotion actions, information campaigns and trade missions.

On 21 November 2013, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal for a reform of the information and promotion of European agricultural products. With the slogan “Enjoy, it’s from Europe“, the new proposal aims to strength the competitiveness of European agriculture on both, the internal market and in third countries and to offer a better targeted promotion according to the needs of European and global markets. The proposal follows on from a wide-ranging debate, launched in 2011, on a Green Paper, which was followed by a Communication.

This proposal provides that measures should follow a European strategy of identifying priorities on markets and products or messages to be highlighted and an increase in the financial support. The scheme should be opened up to new beneficiaries, such as producer organisations. Strict guidelines should be established as regards the possibility to mention the origin of products or brand. Programmes submitted by operators from different Member States will be encouraged (multi-programmes). The proposal includes the development of new technical support services for stakeholders, favouring the exchange of information or good practices. It also aims at a simplification of administrative procedures.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council examined the proposal on 17 February. Some Member States (MS) considered as added value to maintain information and promotion measures on the internal market; on the contrary, some others considered that promotion should focus on foreign countries. Many delegations pointed out the need to better involve MS in the whole process of selection of promotion programme. Several MS would like to scope of products covered to be enlarged. Finally, ministers broached the issue of a possible national co-funding of the policy.

The procedure is on-going in the European Parliament. The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development drafted the report and the amendments have been tabled; the rapporteur is Esther Herranz García. The first reading / single reading in plenary setting is scheduled for April. In fact, the Council aims to reach an agreement with the European Parliament before the next European elections scheduled for May 2014.

This EPRS keysource presents a selection of analyses and information sources on the topic.

Overviews

The promotion policy for agricultural products: today and tomorrow. European Commission, Directorate-General for the Agriculture and Rural Development, 19 December 2013. 31 p.This presentation shows the current policy on promotion agricultural products and highlights the main points of the new legislative proposal. The presentation was held in a lunchtime conference in the Directorate-General for the Agriculture and Rural Development of the Commission.

A reinforced value-added European strategy for promoting the tastes of EU: summary report of the Green paper consultation. European Commission, Agriculture and Rural Development, November 2011. 36 p.This report summarizes the contributions of the general public, stakeholders and public authorities on the consultation process about the promotion of agricultural products, ended in October 2011.

Analysis

Evaluation of promotion and information actions for agricultural products / Analysis for Economic Decisions in collaboration with Metis and Agrotec; commissioned by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development. November 2011. 259 p. Synthetic summaries in 22 official languages.
The examination covers the period from 2002 to 2010, with a synthesis of the previous framework contract evaluations (commissioned in 2006 and implemented until 2008 for four sectors and in various third countries), and the period 2008-2010 subject to more in-depth analysis based on current programmes. It covers the EU-27 Member States. The study examines the relevance and effectiveness of the measures with respect to the achievement of their objectives, the management of programmes as well as their coherence and complementarities with other promotional measures applied under the CAP or by private actors and Member States.

Information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products / European Court of Auditors. Special report Number 10, 2009. 52 p.
The audit was carried out between June and October 2008 at the Commission and in Spain, France and Italy. These three countries are three of the five main Member States concerned by the scheme. They represent nearly 45 % of the expenditure and Italy is the largest beneficiary. The Court of Auditors examined the effectiveness of these information provision and promotion measures and the regularity of the expenditure earmarked for this purpose.

Stakeholder views

EU Institutions’ views

European Parliament

Information and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries: initial appraisal of a European Commission impact assessment / European Parliamentary Research Service, Ex-Ante Impact Assessment Unit, January 2014. 8 p.
This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission’s impact assessment accompanying its legislative proposal on information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries.
The legislative proposal is coherent with the ‘targeted’ scenario approach presented in the impact assessment. However, the figures which appear in the proposal’s financial statement do not appear in the impact assessment.

European Parliament Resolution of 20 November 2012 on promotion measures and information provision for agricultural products: what strategy for promoting the tastes of Europe (2012/2077(INI)).

European Commission

Analyse d’impact accompagnant le document proposition de Règlement du Parlement Européen et du Conseil relatif à des actions d’information et de promotion en faveur des produits agricoles sur le marché intérieur et dans les pays tiers (SWD(2013) 470 final, part 1/2, 46 p.) et (SWD(2013) 470 final part 2/2, annexes, 62 p.). The impact assessment report is only available in French. The executive summary is available in all official languages (SWD(2013) 469 final).

The impact assessment report evaluates alternative scenarios for the evolution of the policy: no policy scenario; enhanced status quo scenario; targeted scenario and exclusive third countries scenario. The report highlights that today, an assessment of the impacts of each individual information and promotion programme is systematically made, using indicators and objectives established by the proposing organisation and assessed by the Commission services when approving the programme. However, in the absence of an overall strategy, the results of these evaluations are difficult to aggregate at the wider level of the promotion policy. In the future, it will be important to reinforce monitoring and evaluation of the European promotion policy for agricultural products. Therefore, common indicators based on objectives and priorities should be implemented to facilitate the use of evaluation in the selection process for programmes.

European Economic and Social Committee

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions on promotion measures and information provision for agricultural products: a reinforced value-added European strategy for promoting the tastes of Europe COM(2012)148 final. NAT/560 Promoting the tastes of Europe. 11 July 2012. 8 p.

NGO’s

EU agricultural product promotional measures to be expanded. Agritrade. 27 January, 2014. 1 p.
Agritrade considers that, the main impacts on ACP countries of EU promotional measures are likely to be felt in terms of increased competition on third-country markets, particularly in Asia and the USA, which must be factored into any specific market diversification efforts launched by individual ACP countries as they targeting quality-differentiated product markets.

CELCAA supports Commission proposal on reform of promotion but calls for improvements. 22 January 2014.3 p.
The European Liaison Committee for Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade (CELCAA), welcomed the proposed reform of the promotion policy. The proposal goes into the right direction, especially when it comes to the overall budget of the promotion policy, the target to third countries experts and simplification procedures. However, there is the opportunity for further improvements to meet the objective of supporting the competitiveness of EU products in the internal market and in third countries’ market. In particular, CELCAA calls for the re-introduction of the optional opportunity for Member States to co-finance multi-countries / multi-products programme. In addition, some promotion measures on the internal market should also be possible under the reform. Finally, relevant operators and sectors should be associated in the elaboration of the EU strategic priorities.

Copa-Cogeca welcomes EU Farm Ministers discussions on proposals to reform EU promotion policy and outlines key points. 16 December 2013. 2 p.
COPA-COGECA welcomed that promotion measures will focus on both, domestic and external markets, the simplification of administrative procedures and the extension of the eligible beneficiaries by adding producer’s organisations.

FoodDrinkEurope welcomes European Commission’s proposal to reform EU promotion policy. 22 November 2013. 1 p.
FoodDrinkEurope highlighted the simplification of the administrative procedures and considered the new legislative proposal will strength the competitiveness of the agricultural and food and drink sectors, thereby contributing to growth and employment.

Consumers’ views

Europeans’ attitudes towards food security, food quality and the countryside: special eurobarometer 389. European Commission, March 2012. 77 p. (see pages 16-31).
According to the eurobarometer the vast majority of EU citizens say that quality (96%) and price (91%) are important to them when buying food, while a substantial majority (71%) say that the origin of food is important. Young EU citizens are less interested in the quality and origin of products. Fewer than half of EU citizens see product brands as important. Opinions on the importance of brands vary more widely between Member States than in the case of quality, price and origin. Brands are notably more important to respondents in NMS12 countries than to respondents in EU15 countries. Two-thirds of EU citizens check food purchases to see if they have quality labels that ensure specific characteristics, although this varies substantially between Member States. Only a minority of EU citizens recognise logos of EU food quality assurance schemes. While just over one-third of EU citizens are aware of the non-EU Fairtrade logo, a quarter are aware of the EU’s Organic farming logo and only a small minority are aware of logos symbolising the three elements of the EU’s Protected Geographical Status scheme.

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