Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture and Ministers of EU Member States signed the declaration on CAP, at the conference in Poland
On February, 2020, Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture, participated at the Ministerial conference, where the topical issues of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have been discussed. The conference was held in Warsaw, Poland with the participation of Ministers and representatives of Ministries from eight Member States as well as Janusz Wojciechowski, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Maciej Golubiewski, the head of the Commissioner’s office. During the conference, the Ministers and representatives of Ministries of 8 Member States signed the common declaration on CAP as well as also met Andrzej Duda, the President of the State of Poland.
Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister: “A joint position of several EU Member States on CAP issues is essential – it proves that we are of the same opinion on the most important and necessary solutions for the sector of Agriculture in a long-term. We believe that in the next programming period, the support must not only be fair for all the Member States but also sufficient to finance the support for the current and new objectives – related to climate and the environment.”
The common declaration emphasizes two issues – the European Green Deal, requiring an adequate funding for implementation of its objectives, and adjustment of direct payments. The Ministers of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania are highlighting in the declaration a great role of CAP in ensuring of food safety, economic development of rural holdings and viability of rural areas. In their declaration, the Ministers point out that they recognize the growing public demands to protect the environment and fight against climate changes and agree that the Green Deal is the means to achieve these objectives. However, the requirements incorporated in the Green Deal (a sustainable use of plant protection means in agriculture, more protected soil, water and air, climate and environment oriented measures all over agricultural production cycle) will increase the cost burden for farmers. Therefore, to avoid jeopardizing viability, competitiveness and achievement of CAP objectives of the European agricultural sector, the Ministers insist upon maintaining the CAP budget at least at the level of the current period (2014-2020).
In their declaration, the Ministers point out that an essential element of the support for farmers are still direct payments, which in the next financial period will be more focusing on achievement of the environment and climate ambitions. Requirements for all the farmers are the same at the European level and therefore the differences in the levels of support cannot be justified. The Ministers indicate that a comprehensive approach is needed to the adjustment of direct payments so that all the EU farmers are in equal competition circumstances. Besides, the adjustment shall not be funded at the expense of the Member States with the level of direct payments lower than the EU average.
In conclusion of the declaration, the Ministers for Agriculture also emphasize the importance of rural development funding in CAP and its contribution toward achieving of the environmental and climate objectives, at the same time, facilitating economic and social viability of rural territories and technological development of agriculture and food industry. The Ministers were firm that the rural development funding must not be reduced.
“We are already eight States, in total with a unified stance, regarding the current multiannual budget plan and its proposals – in the present wording it will not be able to facilitate achievement of the planned objectives to the full. A fair and adequate financial support is vital for the sector of agriculture to ensure that the set objectives are put into practice and not remaining on paper. No doubt, that for ages, agriculture has been the sector, providing local and foreign inhabitants with food as well as activities in regions. Our task is not only to protect stability of this sector but also ensure that farmers are not burdened by impracticable tasks and requirements,” said Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture.
At the conference, Jan Krzystof Ardanowski, the Polish Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development also emphasized that at present, it is important to focus on multiannual budget negotiations to receive a sufficient funding for the new Green Deal challenges. As well as an equal distribution of direct payments for Member States is also important.
At the conference, Janusz Wojciechowski, the Commissioner for Agriculture, indicated that different EU regions have diverse and specific problems. It is time to start peaking about a uniform Europe without a division into the new and old Europe. One of the responses to a sustainable agriculture is reduction of the use of plant protection means, fertilizers, antibiotics and CO2 emissions, producing a wholesome food. To meet these Green Deal requirements, additional funding is necessary therefore, a serious analysis of a statistical situation is necessary on production intensity in every Member State in order to debate on “farm to fork” document and to justify the need for additional funding. It is important to understand the level all the reductions should be measured at – EU, Member State or farm level. The Commissioner emphasized that his aim is to form an opinion that in the future CAP must be more favorable to farmers. Besides, farmers cannot be obliged to comply with more and more requirements within the same funding framework.
The declaration is signed by Kaspars Gerhards, Latvian Minister for Agriculture, Andrius Palionis, Lithuanian Minister for Agriculture, Arvo Aller, Estonian Minister for Rural Affairs, Jan Krzystof Ardanowski, Polish Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Desislava Taneva, Bulgarian Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Miroslav Toman, Czech Minister for Agriculture, Istvan Nagy, Hungarian Minister for Agriculture and George Scarlat, the State Secretary of the Rumanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Information prepared: Santa Vaļuma
Adviser to the Minister