The Presidency presented its work programme and priorities in the areas of agriculture and fisheries, notably steering the debate on the modernisation and simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020 and the agricultural budget in the next Multiannual Financial Framework. Other priorities include unfair trade practices, forestry, the monitoring of the market situation and ongoing trade negotiations. Sustainable animal health management and the animal medicines package will also feature high in the next six-month agenda together with multi-annual management plans and technical measures in the area of fisheries.
The future of food and farming: Common Agricultural Policy post 2020
The future of the CAP is not only the main priority of our presidency for the next six months, but also a key issue for our union as a whole. That is why we decided to hold all our debates in public. We want to engage in an open debate that will improve the future CAP and equip it with the right tools to be competitive and meet the challenge of sustainability.
Rumen Porodzanov, minister of agriculture, food and forestry of the Republic of Bulgaria and president of the Council
Ministers exchanged views on the communication on “The Future of Food and Farming“, which sets out the Commission’s vision for the future CAP period after 2020. During a public session, the Council focused in particular on the CAP added value, the EU’s key objectives to be maintained and the appropriate level of subsidiarity.
Ministers emphasised the added value of the CAP for farmers, citizens and society as a whole, and its key role in contributing to a fair income for farmers, ensuring food security and production throughout the EU, contributing to the environmental and climate mitigation challenge, and keeping rural areas strong and sustainable. Ministers also agreed that in order to preserve this added value it was important for the CAP to continue to be adequately funded.
On sustainability, ministers warned against a possible re-nationalisation of what is longest-standing EU policy and underlined that, while it was important for the CAP to be more flexible and adaptable to national specificities and needs, there were risks that the new delivery model could increase administrative burden, distort competition and lead to delays in the reimbursement of direct payments.
Markets and Trade
The Commission updated the Council on the latest developments in the most important agricultural markets, in particular the dairy, sugar and pig meat markets, and on the state of play of trade-related agricultural issues, with a particular focus on the negotiations with Mexico and Mercosur and within the WTO.
Ministers welcomed the generally positive economic situation and outlook in the main agricultural markets, but also restated their commitment to monitor closely future developments, especially in relation to: sanitary and phytosanitary issues, challenging weather conditions and the possible impact of free trade agreements on sensitive agricultural products.
Other topics on the agenda
Ministers had an informal lunch debate on a possible coordinated EU approach to EU’s participation in FAO and the forthcoming process for election of the FAO director-general.
Ministers were informed about:
- the situation on the Polish sugar and pig meat markets
- the management of public stocks of skimmed milk powder
- the conclusions of the recent ministerial conference on Xylella fastidiosa
- African swine fever
- the 10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture