EU Ministers of Agriculture on the farm to fork strategy and the CAP reform
Today's meeting of EU ministers responsible for agriculture and fisheries, which took place in Brussels for the first time since the end of the COVID-19 epidemic, focused on discussing the farm to fork strategy. The strategy brings together nature, farmers, businesses and consumers in a joint effort to achieve a competitive and sustainable future for the EU. The strategy aims to establish a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system. In the debate, Minister Pivec said that the transition of agriculture should be towards ensuring safe and high-quality food for all, while maintaining a responsible attitude to natural resources. "Sustainable food production must be seen as superior and an opportunity to recognise high-quality products. Slovenia sees the proposed strategy primarily in the light of the gradual transformation of agriculture, which will not only reduce the carbon footprint but also contribute to social balance in agriculture; food production as an important value of society should be given considerably more weight. The wise management of the environment and natural resources and their sustainable use are our duty and a commitment to future generations; however, such efforts must not jeopardise the competitiveness of food production." We again urged the Commission to rapidly respond to national recommendations arising from the implementation of the commitments of the farm to fork strategy and clarify whether these recommendations are legally binding, and called for their inclusion in the CAP strategic plans 2021–2027.
The agriculture ministers today also discussed the CAP post-2020 reform package pertaining to green architecture and the new implementation model. It is important for Slovenia that the drafting of the legislative package continue as soon as possible. Since the adoption of the legislative framework for the future CAP is important in terms of the timely preparation of documents at national levels, it is crucial that this legal framework become stable and valid as soon as possible. In this regard, it is also essential that a multiannual financial framework be adopted as soon as possible so that the implementation of the reformed CAP can begin. "Ministers have closely monitored the negotiations that took place these days between the EU heads of state, because the distribution of funds for agriculture will have an important impact on the future of the agricultural sector. We will only be able to attain this with joint efforts. The way we have been dealing with the crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic fills me with optimism. Measures that we have taken have contributed to improving the situation and helped to partly compensate farmers for the loss of income. We must now apply what we have learned from this experience. The importance of cooperation, cohesion and unity should be at the forefront of our actions, and consumers should continue to buy locally produced food."
At today's meeting, the German Presidency outlined its work programme in the areas of agriculture, food security, fisheries and forestry for the second half of 2020. On the margins of the meeting, the German, Portuguese and Slovenian Ministers of Agriculture made a joint declaration relating to the programme of work of the Trio Presidency in agriculture, with an emphasis on coping with and addressing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this is an unofficial document, it nevertheless contains broad guidelines for the main objectives in agriculture, including ensuring a fair balance between social and environmental requirements and maintaining the long-term viability of agricultural and rural areas in Europe, and envisages debate on the European Green Deal, particularly negotiations on the implementation of the farm to fork strategy and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. In this regard, Minister Pivec said at a press conference that the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 crisis reminded us of the strategic importance of the security and resilience of food supply, particularly food chains. With regard to the joint declaration, she also highlighted the establishment of a balance between the rural and urban environments and the need for clearer labelling of the origin of food. In closing, Minister Pivec also touched on the protection of strategic resources and concern for the social status and position of women in rural areas.