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The EU agriculture and fisheries Council on marking foods, the CAP after 2021 ank the all European mark on animal well being

The EU Ministers responible for agriculture and fisheries met yesterday and today at the last session of the EU Council of the year under the presidency of Germany. State secretary mag. Miran Mihelič attended the session for Slovenia. As is traditional for the end of the year, negotiations on fishing opportunities for the next year were at the forefront of the meeting, which are faced with additional challenges due to United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. Discussion on the proposal of a uniform voluntary marking of nutritional values on the front of packaging was also at the forefront, which resulted in the adoption of resolutions of the presidency, as well as the discussion about an all-European marking on animal well-being on foods of animal origin. During lunch, the German presidency presented to the Ministers the advancements in negotiations on the Common Agricultural Policy after 2021, which, following the adoption of the General Approach of the Council, are now continuing with the European Parliament in the form of so-called trialogues.

Round table, ministers sitting

EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council

The state secretary, mag. Miran Mihelič, attended the first two-day session of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council, which is the last one under the presidency of Germany. As is tradition for the December session of the Council, the central debate was focused on the adoption of the political agreement regarding the Council Regulation on fixing the fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea for 2021, the Council Regulation on fixing the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks for 2021 and 2022, and the Council regulation on fixing the fishing opportunities in the Mediterranean and Black Sea for 2021. Our country thanked the European Commission and the other EU member states for the constructive approach in discussing the proposal of the regulation relating to the fishing opportunities and fish stocks and groups in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, namely in the part that discusses the fishing opportunities in the Adriatic. The Regulation is of key importance for Slovenia, because it allows the preservation and sustainable development of traditional samples of the Slovenian fishing industry.

The participants also spoke about a uniform voluntary marking of nutritional values on the front of packaging. Mr Mihelič thanked the presidency for the preparation and harmonisation of resolutions concerning the topic. He expressed his support for the resolutions and the understanding of many points of view provided by Italy and its supporters in an unofficial document. “Slovenia supports the initiative on the harmonised arrangement of marking nutritional values on the front of packaging with the purpose of clear and non-misleading marking for consumers and in order to protect the common market. The nutritional value is an important piece of information, if presented correctly. The marking system must be educational, and it must promote know-how and supplement the policies on food education. Slovenia welcomes the initiative that the Commission should prepare a legislative proposal in this area on the basis of a scientifically justified and previously assessed impact. We also welcome the special discussion on traditional products and products with protected designation of origin.” The state secretary especially welcomed the discussion on the origin of the food. “We especially welcome the initiative we launched at the start of the year regarding the marking of the origin of honey mixtures. We would also like work on this to start as soon as possible.” The resolutions were, due to the opposition of Italy, Greece, and the Czech Republic, adopted in the form of the presidency’s resolutions.

One of the more important discussed topics was also the all-European mark on animal well-being on foods of animal origin. This, too, stems from the “farm to fork” strategy, which would allow consumers to pick foods from animal-friendly farms, and a partial repayment to breeders for their additional efforts in increasing animal well-being. Marking also reflects the need to improve the standards in animal well-being, which is what the consumer ultimately expects as well. Mr Mihelič believes this will contribute to the strengthening of the animal health area and the fight against antimicrobial resistance, make a more efficient use of resources, and improve social responsibility, thus the current EU legislation needs to be upgraded with this.

Concerning the field of agriculture, the German presidency, which shall hand the presidency over to Portugal at the end of 2020, familiarised the Ministers with the advancements in negotiations in the field of the legislative package on the CAP reform after 2021, which in the form of trialogues between the European Commission, the EU Council, and the European Parliament, have been on-going since November.