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Minister Podgoršek and European Commissioner for agriculture and rural development discussing topics of Slovenia’s EU Council presidency

This afternoon, Minister Dr Jože Podgoršek held a remote meeting with Mr Janusz Wojciechowski, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development. They primarily discussed topics to be in the forefront during Slovenia’s EU Council Presidency in the field of agriculture and forestry. The interlocutors discussed the difficult situation in the pig meat sector, also within the context of Slovenia’s call for action launched at the January videoconference of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers. The Minister informed the Commissioner of the progress made in preparing the National Strategic Plan.

Minister dr. Podgoršek and  EU Commissioner Wojciechowski

Minister dr. Podgoršek and EU Commissioner Wojciechowski | Author MKGP

The principal object of the meeting was to discuss the topics to be on the Agenda during the Sloveni’s EU Council Presidency in the field of agriculture and forestry. During the Presidency, close cooperation with the Commission is requisite for the efficient implementation of tasks set out in the Presidency Work Programme. Roadmap harmonisation in the particular topics is thus of utmost importance.

In agriculture, the following topics were exposed: Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, sustainable agriculture and rural development within the European Green Deal and in the context of responses of the EU to the unforeseeable events (inter alia, action plan for the development of EU organic production), Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas, response of agriculture to changed consumer expectations (origin labelling, geographic designations), implementation of actions towards eliminating unfair commercial practices in the food supply chain. Regarding forestry, they discussed the role of forests and forestry in the conservation and development of rural areas, the sustainable, multi-purpose and environmentally-friendly forest management within the context of the new EU Forest Strategy.

Minister Dr Podgoršek and Commissioner Wojciechowski dedicated their attention also to the difficult situation in the pigmeat sector also within the context of a call for action in the sector, which had been exposed by Minister Dr Podgoršek, under strong Member State (17) support, during the January videoconference of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers. At the said conference Slovenia had, given the worrying situation in the pigmeat market, called on the Commission to institute relevant intervention measures to the sector.

Minister informed the Commissioner of the progress in the National Strategic Plan preparation, which is well under way. In the past year, great progress has been made (analysis of the situation, SWOT analysis and identification of needs, and preparing the contents of relevant interventions), and structured public discussion was organised, with an exceptional response. This year, Slovenia is opening targeted discussion with the stakeholders, the payment agency, whilst simultaneously continuing the ex-ante Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The goal is that, by the end of 2021, the Strategic Plan would officially be submitted for approval to the European Commission.

Finally, the Minister highlighted the significance of close cooperation with the Commission and in this light invited the Commissioner to visit Slovenia, which the Commissioner accepted with pleasure.