EU agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler has welcomed steps taken by the Czech Republic government to prepare its food industry for when the country joins the European Union. He praised the introduction last month of a compulsory cattle identification system, for instance. Speaking at an international conference in Brno, on the Czech food sector, Fischler said that negotiations on reforming technical food production standards, supply management and direct payments to producers, had proved to be "fruitful and cooperative."