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26.1.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/125

(2001/C 26 E/154) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0876/00
by Paulo Casaca (PSE) to the Commission

(22 March 2000)

Subject: Discrimination against extensive meat production in the Autonomous Region of the Azores by
Regulation (EC) No 1254/1999

The Commission’s reply to my question E-0039/00 (1) is rather surprising. Does this reply mean that the
Commission’s view is that in countries with large foraging areas bovine animals are systematically
castrated?

In the Autonomous Region of the Azores, in which one of the most extensive forms of cattle farming in
Europe is practised, precisely because it has ‘large foraging areas’ that are undoubtedly more stable than
those in France, the United Kingdom and even Ireland, this is certainly not the case, because of the Azores’
traditional, individualised approach to farming, which contrasts with the more modern, open-field
approach in those other countries.

Council Regulation 1254/1999 (2) makes the assumption (see Recital 5) that the conditions of steer
production necessarily differ from those of bull production, which explains the distinction made in
Article 4. Given that this assumption is totally unjustified, at least with regard to the Autonomous Region
of the Azores, will the Commission consider amending the provisions to ensure that they reflect the real
situation?

(1) OJ C 303 E, 24.10.2000, p. 134.
(2) OJ L 160, 26.6.1999, p. 21.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(27 April 2000)

The answer given by the Commission to written question E-0039/00 from the Honourable Member (1) was
intended to make clear that conditions of rearing and the quality of meat obtained are different as between
non-castrated male bovine animals (bulls) and castrated ones (steers). The reference to Member States with
a large area under fodder crops was a simple observation of fact.

The Commission is well-aware of cattle farming conditions in the Azores as the result of a special mission
carried out at the end of 1993 to monitor the scheme to support livestock production contained in
Council Regulation (EEC) No 1600/92 of 15 June 1992 concerning specific measures for the Azores and
Madeira relating to certain agricultural products (2) (Poseima programme).

The basic issue is that the Council recognised that, at an overall level, there are two production systems for
male bovine animals and that in the case of steers it was appropriate to make two successive payments.
As regards production of bulls, on the other hand, as long ago as 1996 the Council pointed out that the
granting of a second instalment of premium had led to the production of particularly heavy animals and
that therefore this needed to be rectified by abolishing the second payment, while allowing a period of
transition for adaptation in the case of bulls produced in regions of traditional extensive production. This
transitional period ended in 1999.

However, if the national authorities consider that the production of bulls specifically in the Azores
deserves special support, then Council Regulation (EC) No 1254/1999 of 17 May 1999 on the common
organisation of the market in beef and veal (3) already provides for a flexible framework of Community
payments to be introduced by the Member States concerned.

Finally, the 5th recital to Regulation (EC) No 1254/99 merely recalls this situation without suggesting that
Community livestock-farming should be influenced in one direction or the other.

(1) OJ C 303 E, 24.10.2000, p. 134.
(2) OJ L 173, 27.6.1992.
(3) OJ L 160, 26.6.1999.