The EU is the world's second biggest producer of pork after China and the biggest exporter of pork and pork products. The EU's main producer countries are Germany, Spain and France and between them they represent half of the EU's total production. The EU exports about 13% of its total production. Most of the EU's pork exports go to East Asia, in particular China.
Pork is covered by the common market organisation and has never been subject to linked payments or production quotas. Only in very limited cases have private storage schemes been used to stabilise pig markets during times of crisis.
The aim of the meat market observatory is to provide the EU beef, veal and pork sector with more transparency by providing up to date market data and short-term analysis.
At the monthly committee for the common organisation of the agricultural markets the European Commission presents the market situation in the pig sector. The trends on how the market for pork is expected to develop can be found in the Commission's short-term and mid-term reports.
The agri-food data portal gives market data on national and EU agriculture such as process, production, trade, tariff rate quotas.
Pork imports from third countries are subject to import duties. Common customs tariff duties ensure that EU pork is able to compete on the internal market with non-EU countries. Within the framework of international and bilateral trade agreements, the EU operates a system of import quotas with specific country allocations or open for all.
Carcass classification and price reporting
The EU wide system of carcass classification and comparable pig prices provides the basis for objective grading of carcasses in slaughterhouses and fair payment to producers.
Regulation of supply of PDO/PGI ham
European Union countries are allowed, under certain conditions, to apply rules to regulate the supply of protected designation of origin (PDO)/protected geographical indication (PGI) hams upon the request of a producer organisation, an interbranch organisation or a PDO/PGI group.
This measure is aimed at ensuring the value added of quality products benefiting from a PDO or a PGI.
Currently this measure applies to two products:
Various committees, composed of government representatives and chaired by a European Commission representative, meet regularly to ensure that the Commission's responsibility for adopting implementing acts is exercised under the control of EU countries.
The committee for common organisation of agricultural markets (CMO) meets regularly to discuss areas such as the evolution of market prices, production and trade in the EU and non-EU countries.
The Civil Dialogue Group and Working Group on Animal Products maintains the role of assisting the Commission in maintaining a regular dialogue on all matters related to pigmeat.
European Pigmeat Reflection Group
The EU pigmeat sector has been in serious difficulty for a number of months due to a combination of factors, including:
- Covid-19 restrictions;
- reduced exports to China;
- the spread of African Swine Fever to more EU countries;
- increases in input costs.
The way forward requires in-depth reflection, as present difficulties go beyond the seasonal fluctuations of the pig cycle.
Against this background, Commissioner Wojciechowski announced the creation of a European Pigmeat Reflection Group. This is a series of joint meetings of the pigmeat section of the Civil Dialogue Group for Animal Products, and the animal products section of the CMO Expert Group.
A kick off meeting took place on 10 March, effectively launching the group's work in the presence of Commissioner Wojciechowski.
Five plenary meetings are planned in 2022. Each meeting is dedicated to a specific topic and its output is shared on this webpage for the benefit of all. The five meeting reports will flow into a final report with possible recommendations.
The first of these meetings took place online on 6 April. There were over 130 participants and 12 presentations. The meeting focused on the sector’s socio-economic dynamics: structure of the sector across and within EU countries, export orientation, short supply chains, socio-economic relevance for rural areas, rural development measures for pigmeat, State aid and CAP strategic plans.
The first debate was guided by the following questions:
- Are there particular economic models that ensure resilience?
- To what extent does EU internal market balance need exports? Does export orientation increase the risk of crisis or does it play a role in hedging risks?
- What is the role of short supply chains in EU internal market balance? Do they help to mitigate risks?
- What is the added value of pig farming for rural areas? Are there threats to be mitigated?
- To what extent can structural measures help the pigmeat sector?
The second meeting took place online on 25 May. It continued the discussion on the sector’s socio-economic dynamics (GIs, labelling, consumption trends and the food environment, organic production and risk management).
The debate was guided by the following questions:
- To what extent do GIs add value to the pigmeat sector?
- What is the advantage of farming method labelling for pigmeat production? What are the constraints?
- Does origin labelling address consumers' expectations?
- Is a shift noticeable in consumer habits?
- To what extent does policy influence consumer purchasing actions?
- What are the challenges and opportunities of organic pig production?
- To what extent is risk hedging a private concern?
The third meeting took place online on 4 July and opened a new chapter for discussion: environment and climate challenges. The meeting focused on farming methods, carbon farming and carbon credits, and emission and manure management.
The third debate was guided by the following questions:
- To what extent can differentiated farming methods add value to the pigmeat sector?
- To what extent can differentiated farming methods address environment and climate challenges?
- Should certain farming methods be prohibited?
- Is carbon farming taken into account in pig farming?
- To what extent can carbon credits play a role in the pigmeat sector?
- To what extent can pig farming mitigate emissions?
- To what extent can manure management add value in the pigmeat sector?
The fourth meeting will continue the discussion on the sector’s environmental and climate challenges by examining the issues of biogas and research and innovation.
Animal health and welfare considerations will be examined in the fifth meeting. These include:
- animal health
- research and innovation.
The meeting report will include not only the views expressed by the speakers (market actors, academics, EU countries’ authorities, Commission officials) but also those that may have reached us in writing.
The agendas, minutes and documents relating to each meeting of European Pigmeat Reflection Group can be found on the Civil Dialogue Group for Animal Products page.
- 10 March 2022
- 6 April 2022
- 25 May 2022
- 4 July 2022
- 12 September 2022
- 21 November 2022
- 18 January 2023: delivery of the final report.
The legal bases for the EU pork sector is covered by EU regulation 1308/2013 on the common market organisation and by European Commission implementing and delegated regulations on private storage during periods of crisis: