The issue of the European pig meat market was raised by France at the recently concluded Agriculture/Fisheries Council of May 2003. France inquired into the possibility of introducing export refunds.
In response, Commissioner Fischler pointed out that the Commission had already introduced aid for private storage in order to overcome the weakness of pig meat prices. For this measure the EU has disbursed €33 million.
"The reasons for this stagnation of market prices are multiple: weak consumption, the deterioration of the US dollar, the recent introduction of import quotas by Russia," said Fischler.
"Given the strong competition from cheaper suppliers, it would require costly refunds hardly compatible with the limited budget left after the implementation of the last aid for the private storage scheme. Against this background it would be advisable to carefully monitor the market."
The European Presidency and the Commission also held trilateral meetings with each of the 15 Member States and the 10 acceding countries. The aim of these meetings was to prepare the ground for a compromise in the next council meeting starting on 11 June in Luxembourg.
"While the road to a reformed CAP is still bumpy, we have made good progress. More and more Member States agree that reform is necessary, and that it is necessary now," said Fischler.
It should therefore be possible to wrap the reform up in June."