With a view to restoring consumer confidence, the Council stresses the need also for a long term coherent approach to the BSE situation and, in this respect, recognises the importance of the regulations to be adopted on TSE and animal by-products.
The Council takes note of the work carried out by the competent authorities of Member States in implementing the latest Council and Commission decisions, and calls on the Commission to ensure proper follow up to these decisions and, in this context, notes the Commission's call on Member States to submit a monthly report on the implementation of Community measures.
The Council has taken note of the scientific opinion arising from the Agriculture Council of 4 December 2000 and of the intention of the Commission to present proposals to the Standing Veterinary Committee with a view in particular to
The Council reaffirms its support for maintaining the age of 30 months for the rapid BSE test, nevertheless, it takes note of the Commission's intention to review, if necessary the age threshold for the rapid test on the basis of the results of the testing programmes and new scientific assessments.
In the light of the opinion of the Scientific Steering Committee of 12 January 2001, the Council concludes that the vertebral column should be removed from cattle and supports the Commission's intentions to present to the next Standing Veterinary Committee draft measures, including technical implementation details. In this context the Commission will examine whether derogations are acceptable for certain Member States with a low incidence of BSE.
The Council recalls the need to keep under review the present provisional ban on MBM in order to allow for a full assessment of the situation before the end of June. This assessment will also take into account progress made on the draft regulations on TSE and animal by-products.
The Commission reminds Member States that there is no derogation to the obligation to notify all new state aids schemes and all new individual state aids to the Commission before they are put into effect (Article 88 (3) EC Treaty and Council Regulation (EC) Nš 659/1999). The Council therefore calls on Member States to notify national aids taken to finance BSE measures in accordance with EC law in order to enable the Commission to present a report to the next meeting of the Agriculture Council, with a view to ensuring the proper functioning of the internal market.
The Council notes the Commission's intention to decide before 1 April 2001 on the BSE status of third countries with regard to imports of meat and meat products into the EU in order to ensure public health protection and to avoid distortion of competition.
The Council notes the Commission's request for Member States to implement in an effective manner the "purchase for destruction" scheme, in accordance with the objectives set out in Regulation (EC) Nš 2777/2000. The Commission will examine the scheme.
The Council welcomes the Commission's intention to submit, within the Berlin financing perspectives and before the next Agriculture Council, a package of measures aimed at addressing the problems of the imbalance on the EU beef market, in both the short and the long term, and enhancing quality. The Council will deal with these measures as a matter of urgency.