On Monday, November 20, Raivis Kronbergs, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, participated in the EU Council of Agriculture and Fisheries, in Brussels where Member State discussed a long-term vision on the development of EU rural areas in future.
Rural areas must be strong and viable all over the EU because exactly rural areas play an essential role in food production that is particularly important in the present geo-political situation as well as in conservation of the environment and actions towards climate changes. All this is based on rural areas being populated – inhabitants who are living and working in rural areas.
R.Kronbergs, in debates, emphasized that not only Common Agricultural Policy must facilitate resilience and development of rural areas. In achieving of this objective, it must be noted that also other action policies of the European Union (transport, health care, education, available service, etc.) have a direct impact on rural areas and abilities of rural population to work and prosperous living. Therefore, a better coherence of various EU policies must be ensured for the benefit of rural development. To ensure viability of rural territories it is necessary to mobilize all the available resources.
In the planned negotiations on the future EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a balance must be found between food production and growing sustainability demands. Food production must be CAP priority. At the same time, farmers must be supported, including financially, in their obligations to meet ever expanding environment and climate requirements. The European Commission must carry out a comprehensive assessment on the impact on the EU agriculture of Green Deal legal acts. Clear facts are needed what consequences entail our food production and competitiveness
Taking into account geo-political situation and impact of unfavorable weather conditions, also in 2024 some flexibility must envisaged in CAP conditions and it must be permitted to use in agricultural production the areas where, until now, restrictions or prohibitions have been laid down.
At the Council meeting, there were discussions on implementation of the EU Forest Strategy 2030. “Forests play a great role in both the development of rural areas and contributing to mitigation of climate changes and facilitating of biological diversity. Forests in EU differ with their unique environmental and geographical conditions. Thus, challenges they are facing are also different. In forest management “choosing a common method for all” is not working. In making a decision on forest management, particularly on choosing of the most suitable forest managment methods and means, must be the competence of Member States also in the future. Implementation of the Forest Strategy must comply with the MS’s development objectives, taking into consideration different economic and geographical situations. Implementation of the Strategy must not create an additional administrative burden and expenses,” emphasized Raivis Kronbergs.
The Council also discussed damages caused by big predatory animals and the danger they pose to agricultural animals. Therefore, Member States asked EC to carry out an assessment and revise regulatory acts to find a balance between protection of big predatory animals and safe agricultural activity.