On 16 December 2015, under the Luxembourg Presidency and subject to the European Parliament and Council formal vote, the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) approved a final compromise on a proposal for regulation on school milk, fruit and vegetables scheme.
The Council and the European Parliament representatives identified the overall compromise during a trilogue meeting held on 10 December. On the same occasion the SCA approved a Council Regulation on the same subject, which completes the school scheme, notably as regards the fixing of the EU aid.
Promotion of certain foods for public health
School schemes were originally established in order to promote the consumption of fruit and vegetable and milk products, beneficial in the public health context and are suitable for the distribution to school children. In addition, those sectors are also important for the EU agriculture. Under these schemes EU aid is allocated to member states for the supply of those products in educational establishments.
The school fruit and vegetables scheme and the school milk scheme are currently separate programmes. In January 2014, the Commission made a proposal merging the schemes and amending the new single Common Market Organisation (single CMO) regulation under the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) (5958/14) and the regulation fixing certain aids and refunds (6054/14). The new scheme will have an overall yearly budget of €250 millions (milk products: €100 millions; fruit and vegetables: €150 millions).
The next steps
The European Parliament is expected to vote the compromise text at a meeting of its Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development in late January.
The Chairman of the SCA, for the Presidency, will send a letter to the Chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. This letter indicates that if the Parliament votes at its plenary session the compromise texts as approved by the SCA today, after legal-linguistic revision, the Council will be able to reach agreement with the European Parliament on school milk, fruit and vegetables schemes in first reading. This should enable the entry into force of the new scheme in Spring 2016 and its application from August 2017.