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The Dutch Presidency (First half 2016)

From 1.01.2016 to 30.06.2016, the Netherlands will preside the Council.


You can find here the programme of the Dutch Presidency 


The fundamental priorities of the Dutch presidency included: creating a comprehensive migration policy, combating the level of the unemployment, creating a new policy on climate and energy, and having a sound and robust eurozone.  Unfortunately, animal welfare activities and strategies have not been directly mentioned as a priority in the official Programme of the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the period 1 January – 30 June 2016.


One of the key objectives will be focused on trade and especially negotiating the TTIP agreement (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) with the US.  It was also mentioned that “The negotiations on the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) between the EU and the US (TTIP) are a subject of public interest in the European Union. Given the European Council’s ambition of concluding the negotiations quickly, the Netherlands Presidency will work to move the process forward efficiently, while paying due regard to the public debate surrounding the agreement”.


Moreover, the Dutch Presidency will put emphasis on urging the European Commission to make the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) simplified in the case to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burden on farmers as well as the current market conditions concerning dairy and pig farming, which will be meticulously scrutinized. Interestingly enough, the Dutch also mentioned enterprises’ CSR (Corporate social responsibility) as one of the subjects of their presidency. 


Even if the Dutch presidency has not pointed out the animal welfare issues as the priority in its program for the year 2016, it does not mean that any activities on it will be taken. As the Animal Intergroup of the European Parliament has convinced the European Council not to omit implementing better animal welfare practices as it is a fundamental matter of having a sustainable future among Europeans.


Furthermore, dr Bruschke stressed a need on preparing the EU strategy on the protection and animal welfare for the period 2016-2020.  Another point of attention for the Dutch government was making an improvement of transport of animals in order to provide better transport condition, as space allowances, and shorten the transport times of slaughter animals to 8 hours. It is also important to pinpoint that Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands requested for a revision of the Transport Regulation in order to urge the European Commission to deal with this cruelty. Moreover, one of the key activities of the Dutch presidency found halting with a piglet castration, which is treated as a painful mutilation of animals, by 2018.


Furthermore, it is highly probable that the Brussels declaration will be enforced during its presidency. When it comes to encouraging discussion on animal welfare and exchanging of best practices and experiences, creating a new EU platform on animal welfare will be suggested during the next Agricultural Council meeting on 15 February 2016. VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS will contribute to  the Eurogroup campaign on transport.