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Minister dr. Podgoršek at a meeting with Ambassadors on MAFF priority tasks and presenting Tradicional Slovenian Breakfast

Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Dr Jože Podgoršek, hosted today at Brdo the Ambassadors of the Member States of the European Union (EU). Central focus was on presentation of priority tasks of Slovenia’s Presidency of the EU Council in the sector of agriculture, forestry and food, and on principal events to be organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (MAFF) during the Presidency. Using this opportunity, the Minister presented to the Ambassadors the Traditional Slovenian Breakfast project to take place tomorrow in all the Slovenian schools and kindergartens – in the past year, on account of the epidemic, the breakfast could not be carried out, and had to be postponed.

In his introductory address, the Minister, Dr Podgoršek, first presented the Traditional Slovenian Breakfast project. Here, he pointed out that the “Project thus became an excellent opportunity of communicating to the children, teenagers, and indirectly to the entire general public and consumers, two messages, namely, as first, that breakfast is an important part of our nutritional habits as it belongs to a healthy way of eating and a healthy way of life, and secondly, that purchasing locally produced food is extremely important for conserving the Slovenian countryside and agriculture, thus simultaneously reducing the emissions, and improving the biodiversity”. Thereafter, the Minister presented to the Ambassadors Slovenia’s priorities for the Slovenian Presidency in the sector of agriculture, forestry and food.

Priorities in Agriculture, Forestry and Food

Minister Dr Podgoršek presented Slovenia’s priority tasks for the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (the EU Council) within the portfolio covered by MAFF. The Minister pointed out that a priority task was the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, which could be finalised by the Portuguese Presidency by the end of the month. The Minister Dr Jože Podgoršek asserted that he was positive of Slovenia’s preparedness even for a scenario, where the final negotiations on the reform would be taking place within the Slovenian Presidency. Should the negotiations conclude by the end of this month, Slovenia will focus on preparing the CAP strategic plans within the Presidency. Additionally, special attention will be dedicated to the Communication on the Contingency Plan to Ensure Food Supply and Food Security, and to the Long-term Vision for Rural Areas. An important issue for Slovenia is the designation / labelling of origin of agricultural products, particularly, the designation / labelling of origin of honey blends. As this is another most important priority task, the issue will be addressed during the Presidency as part of the discussion on the revision of marketing standards.

In forestry sector, the EU Forest Strategy will be at the forefront. During the Presidency, Slovenia would like to conduct a substantive discussion and to adopt Council conclusions. It is important that the new strategy recognises sustainable, multifunctional and close-to-nature forest management as the main management principle, as well as the role of forests and forestry in rural preservation and development.

In fisheries sector, Slovenia will highlight the importance of preserving sustainable fisheries, building a stronger focus on small-scale inshore fishing and preservation of fishing tradition in coastal communities. In addition, as a country presiding over the EU Council, we are facing the task of conducting political negotiations between the Member States on fishing opportunities for the coming year, including the United Kingdom, and of completing the work on reconstruction of the fisheries control system.

In food safety sector, Slovenia will dedicate utmost attention and care to ensuring consumer safety in nutrition, and increase attention in ensuring the traceability, indication of origin, and effective inspection and control. In veterinary and phytosanitary matters, Slovenia will work hard on strengthening the cooperation in combatting the spread over borders of certain cross-border animal diseases, and of the emerging diseases, and in combatting the spread of the particularly dangerous or new plant pests.

Events during the Presidency

Among other things, the Minister Dr Jože Podgoršek announced to the Ambassadors that Slovenia was planning an informal meeting of the agriculture ministers to take place this September, between 5 and 7 September, at Brdo pri Kranju. During the informal meeting of the ministers, a side event of Special Committee on Agriculture will take place, which is traditionally organised alongside the ministerial meeting.

Traditional meetings at the level of Directors-General in particular fields of work of the Ministry are planned to take place as well and, as currently anticipated, will mostly take place in person, and to a lesser extent, as audio-video conferences.