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Minister Podgoršek on EU promotion policy: "Maintaining the competitiveness and equality of agricultural sector"

On behalf of the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council, the Minister Dr Jože Podgoršek participated today in a 2-day high level event, a video conference of the EU promotion policy stakeholders. The conference addresses the question of such policy as a possibility of transition to a more sustainable EU food system, of improving the healthy alimentary habits, and of fostering the competitiveness of this sector in the global markets. The organiser of the conference is the European Commission (General Directorate for Agriculture and Rural Development). In the opening part, the participants were addressed by the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Janusz Wojciechowski.

Minister Jože Podgoršek sitting in front of a computer

Minister Jože Podgoršek | Author MKGP

Already the “Farm to Fork” Strategy envisages a review of the EU promotion policy so as to increase the contribution of the policy to sustainable production and consumption, and to harmonise it with the transition to a more vegetal alimentation, with less red and processed meat, and more fruits and vegetables. The European Commission is currently reviewing its policy of promotion of agri-food products within the EU, based on Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014. An essential part of this review is the ongoing 2-day conference of stakeholders. At the conference, the European Commission high representatives, representatives of international organisations, representatives of the agri-food sector, of the consumers, and the experts are discussing the methods of how the EU promotion policy can support the transition to a more sustainable food system within the EU, improve the healthy alimentary habits, and foster the competitiveness of the sector in the global markets.

On behalf of the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council, the Minister Dr Jože Podgoršek highlighted today in his opening speech the significance of food as our most solid bond to Nature, whilst food production is highly dependent on biodiversity and ecosystems. “And, by all means, these are impacted by us. Our alimentary habits are impacting also the climate change, the development of the society and cultural landscape and, inevitably, our health.”

The EU promotion policy reform, as put by the Minister, needs to be dealt with from several aspects, namely, the European Green Deal, and the “Farm to Fork” Strategy, which are incorporating a transition to the more sustainable production and consumption systems. At the same time, farmers and agri-food chains are facing the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the instable global economic environment. “European consumers have for a number of years been selecting the food, which is healthier, more palatable, with high nutritional value, and has been processed in an environment-friendly manner.”

In addition to the existing quality schemes, as the organic food cultivation and processing, and geographic designations, the EU promotion policy has a crucial role in promoting the future schemes, which should raise the awareness of consumers on the designation of sustainably grown foodstuffs within the EU, at simultaneous care for animal welfare, and observation of the healthy and well-balanced alimentary habits. “Slovenia believes that organic food cultivation is one of the sustainable methods of cultivation in agriculture, and for this reason, from the very beginning of the Presidency, we will endeavour for the adoption of conclusions on this topic at the coming EU Council on Agriculture and Fisheries,” added the Minister Dr Podgoršek.

According to the Minister, the EU trade policy will continue supporting the agriculture, and the agri-food sector, which is composed in particular of the small and medium enterprises. “And, for this reason as well, the policy of informing, and promotion of agricultural products shall continually be targeting the improvement of competitiveness of the agricultural sector in the Union, by maintaining an EU-wide equal position of the sector. In this way, the conditions of competition will be better balanced within the Internal Market, and in the third country markets; and, based on good information, the consumer will be in a position to make a good selection in deciding on what to buy,” pointed out the Minister Dr Jože Podgoršek.

Already the “Farm to Fork” Strategy envisages a review of the EU promotion policy so as to increase the contribution of the policy to sustainable production and consumption, and to harmonise it with the transition to a more vegetal alimentation, with less red and processed meat, and more fruits and vegetables. The European Commission is currently reviewing its policy of promotion of agri-food products within the EU, based on Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014. An essential part of this review is the ongoing 2-day conference of stakeholders. At the conference, the European Commission high representatives, representatives of international organisations, representatives of the agri-food sector, of the consumers, and the experts are discussing the methods of how the EU promotion policy can support the transition to a more sustainable food system within the EU, improve the healthy alimentary habits, and foster the competitiveness of the sector in the global markets.

On behalf of the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council, the Minister Dr Jože Podgoršek highlighted today in his opening speech the significance of food as our most solid bond to Nature, whilst food production is highly dependent on biodiversity and ecosystems. “And, by all means, these are impacted by us. Our alimentary habits are impacting also the climate change, the development of the society and cultural landscape and, inevitably, our health.”

The EU promotion policy reform, as put by the Minister, needs to be dealt with from several aspects, namely, the European Green Deal, and the “Farm to Fork” Strategy, which are incorporating a transition to the more sustainable production and consumption systems. At the same time, farmers and agri-food chains are facing the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the instable global economic environment. “European consumers have for a number of years been selecting the food, which is healthier, more palatable, with high nutritional value, and has been processed in an environment-friendly manner.”

In addition to the existing quality schemes, as the organic food cultivation and processing, and geographic designations, the EU promotion policy has a crucial role in promoting the future schemes, which should raise the awareness of consumers on the designation of sustainably grown foodstuffs within the EU, at simultaneous care for animal welfare, and observation of the healthy and well-balanced alimentary habits. “Slovenia believes that organic food cultivation is one of the sustainable methods of cultivation in agriculture, and for this reason, from the very beginning of the Presidency, we will endeavour for the adoption of conclusions on this topic at the coming EU Council on Agriculture and Fisheries,” added the Minister Dr Podgoršek.

According to the Minister, the EU trade policy will continue supporting the agriculture, and the agri-food sector, which is composed in particular of the small and medium enterprises. “And, for this reason as well, the policy of informing, and promotion of agricultural products shall continually be targeting the improvement of competitiveness of the agricultural sector in the Union, by maintaining an EU-wide equal position of the sector. In this way, the conditions of competition will be better balanced within the Internal Market, and in the third country markets; and, based on good information, the consumer will be in a position to make a good selection in deciding on what to buy,” pointed out the Minister Dr Jože Podgoršek.