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The Dutch have taken up the mantle of the EU’s rotating presidency taking over from Luxembourg at the start of this year.

As a key dairy exporting nation, ICOS is hoping that the next 6 months will see the Dutch make progress in stabilising dairy markets as well as developing both trade opportunities and progressing the adoption of financial instruments for use by dairy farmers to get over credit issues.

The March 14th Dutch Council has been set aside to develop farm finance tools with the April 11th meeting focusing on Agri market developments.

Another very interesting developing file from a dairy perspective is the growing push on policy-makers from a range of NGOs to beef up rules on animal welfare, especially looking at dairy cows that are kept indoors.

Other stated Agri goals from the Dutch are to make progress in the long running organic dossier, simplification of the CAP, antibiotics/vet medicines and food waste.

Interrelated with the work programme of the Agri Ministers and again of major concern to Irish cooperative dairy will be the Environment Council’s discussions on Agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in the aftermath of the Paris COP 21 deal. Those meetings will be held on March 4th and June 20th.

Full details of work can be found on the presidency website www.eu2016.nl

By Conor Mulvihill

European Affairs Executive