Minutes of meeting with Commissioner Andriukaitis on 25 March 2015
The Commissioner started by saying that animal welfare has the highest priority for him. At the beginning of his mandate he was extremely surprised and shocked about the bad implementation and enforcement of the Pigs Directive in all Member States. His cabinet is working on this with DG SANTE to make sure that more focus is placed on better enforcement with the presentation of guidelines. He is aware that bad enforcement creates unfair competition to those farmers who actually comply with the legislation. He was very pleased to see that Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands have recently agreed on a Joint Declaration on Animal Welfare deciding to pool their activities aimed at improving animal welfare. He said that he is ready to improve the control measures and counts on the EP and the Council for a positive wind up of the official controls dossier.
Concerning the avoidance of routine tail-docking of pigs, he said that guidelines could help and that his cabinet is ready to send them to the Member States. He stated: "We must sent a very clear signal: If you do not follow those guidelines, we will start infringement procedures immediately". "We must start a dialogue with the countries that are not committed."
The Commissioner also asked MEPs to be more active. He mentioned Article 13 of the Treaty which states that animals are sentient beings. This must be a part of all Member States' national legal status. "It is the obligation of the Members States to follow the Treaty. All policies must follow high public health standards. It is our common obligation."
He went on saying to the MEPs: "You have the right to send letters to your Members States and the national Ministers". Be active in relation to your national Parliament, create better networks."
Peter Stevenson from Compassion in World Farming suggested that the Commission should send instructions to the national inspectors on how to get better compliance with the Pigs Directive. The Commissioner answered that he would send very soon a letter the responsible EU-Ministers on this ".
Commissioner Andriukaitis also stressed that there is a lack of a permanent roundtable to closely follow the enforcement of the Pigs Directive: "We should organise regular spring and autumn meetings with stakeholders to discuss issues and report on the progress made. I need to see some more systematic work with permanent working groups and a follow-up on the progress."
The Commissioner confirmed again that he can accept the invitation to come to the September or October session of the Animal Welfare Intergroup. The meeting would however have to take place on a Tuesday during those plenary sessions.
All in all it was a very constructive and positive meeting. The Commissioner showed interest and willingness to cooperate