On Thursday, March 16, Didzis Šmits, the Minister for Agriculture had the meeting with Stella Kyriakides, the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, who was on a working visit in Latvia. The Minister and Commissioner discussed, in a constructive atmosphere, several proposals for legislative documents, prepared by the European Commission (EC) and to be published shortly after on food, veterinary and plant protection areas.
Regarding the EC proposal to reduce the use of plant protection products (PPP) in agriculture, D.Šmits pointed out: upon reducing PPP, specificity and individual situations in Member States must be considered thus, application of the linear reduction method to all the Member States is not admissible. Ms Kyriakides, emphasized that she is open for further discussions to achieve in a pragmatic way a bilaterally acceptable solution. By June of the current year, the EC will prepare a more detailed impact assessment on possible criteria for reduction of PPP use, ensuring as far as possible that specific situations of Latvia and other Member States are taken into consideration. The Commissioner more than once reminded that “nothing is cut in rock” and she is ready for further discussions.
It has already been stated that the Ministry of Agriculture considers: the target to reduce PPP usage by 61%, planned by the EC, is excessive in respect of Latvia. As it is known that in Latvia, the use of PPP in agriculture is one of the lowest in the EU and it is by 2 to 5 times lower than the EU average.
Regarding ensuring of food safety and sustainable food systems where the EC proposal is forthcoming, the Minister emphasized that these are the questions of national security, and all the proposals must take account of balanced economic, social and environmental aspects.