Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-04-23-Speech-1-203"

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". Mr President, first of all, let me start by thanking Mr Graefe zu Baringdorf, and of course the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, for their thorough analysis of the current proposal and the whole preparation of this report. Let me briefly introduce the objectives of the proposal and its context. The accession of Bulgaria and Romania has enhanced the importance of the sugar refining industry within the whole Community. Given their rather marginal production of beet sugar, both Member States have traditionally met their domestic sugar demand by refining imported raw cane sugar. As a result of the accession negotiations, it was agreed that the two Member States could import altogether 530 000 tonnes of raw cane sugar for refining domestically. However, even if their agreed beet sugar quota is taken into account, both Member States are expected to remain slightly net importers as their combined consumption would reach between 800 000 and 900 000 tonnes. Thus, the opening of the proposal tariff quota would not negatively affect the overall balance within the Community sugar market. For the sugar industries in the two Member States, the accession to the European Union came at a very difficult moment, given that it was during the first year of the sugar reform. Therefore it was necessary to adapt certain measures that would facilitate smooth integration into the new common market organisation for sugar. As regards that objective, the Council agreed that the approved quantities of raw sugar imports would be reserved for these two Member States until the end of the marketing year 2008-2009. As from the 2009-2010 marketing year, the overall traditional supply need for refining which is fixed at the European level of 2.3 million tonnes, would cease to be distributed among Member States. This would of course enhance the competitiveness of the European sugar industry, but it is also expected to be of benefit to our suppliers of raw sugar. So the opening of the tariff quotas which is currently proposed to supply the refining industries of Romania and Bulgaria would be, as requested in your report, limited to the two years. In your amendment, you propose that from the production year 2009-2010, no tariff quotas should be allocated, rather than those that are allocated under the EBA and ACP countries’ initiative. Unfortunately I am not in a position to be able to support that amendment for different reasons. Firstly, the draft regulation only concerns the marketing years up to and including the marketing year 2008-2009. Secondly, in order to respect its international commitments, the Community is obliged to undertake discussions with the traditional trading partners of Bulgaria and Romania. Finally, the European Union may not unilaterally modify, especially not completely withdraw, the preferential market access agreed for the countries of the Western Balkans or the tariff-rated quotas that have been opened."@en1

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