Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
Ministers discussed the implementation of the new CAP and the approval of strategic plans. They exchanged views on the preparation process at national level and stressed the need to have the strategic plans approved as soon as possible. Ministers also discussed the impact of the Russian war against Ukraine on the ongoing implementation of the new green architecture. They further stressed the need for a balanced solution to meet environmental, climate and biodiversity objectives on one hand, and to ensure food security on the other.
Discussion on the market situation, especially following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia
Ministers discussed the economic situation of the agricultural sector in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. They exchanged views on prospects for harvest this year, taking into account the implication of the extreme drought over recent weeks, as well as the challenges facing each sector as a result of the Russian aggression of Ukraine. The shortage of raw materials and the high input prices are having a major impact on the agricultural production and downstream manufacturing in member states. In this context, ministers further called on the Commission to provide clarifications on derogations and national strategic plans as soon as possible, in order to provide certainty to farmers. Ministers further discussed the implementation of EU solidarity lanes and relevant matchmaking platforms established to help transit the grain out of Ukraine and reiterated their commitment and solidarity with Ukraine. They further called on the continued need to monitor individual sectors in the EU and to develop tools at global level to assess the way forward in the longer term.
Sustainable use of plant protection products
Ministers discussed the recent Commission proposal and its ambitious harmonisation of national policies on pesticide use by means of a regulation. Ministers welcomed the sustainable use of plant protection products and expressed their concerns regarding the setting of the 50% target in chemical pesticides, both at the EU and national level. They recalled the need for viable sustainable alternatives to chemical pesticides before setting obligatory reduction targets. Ministers further called on the necessity to take into account the differences in geography, climate and starting points in different member states. They further stressed that sustainability should not be sought at the expense of food security or of the competitiveness of EU agriculture, especially in the current context of the Russian aggression of Ukraine.
Ministers welcomed the European Commission’s document “Strategic guidelines for a more sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture for the period 2021 to 2030” and agreed on a set of conclusions on aquaculture to build a sustainable, resilient and competitive marine and freshwater aquaculture sector. Ministers called for the need to give the appropriate high priority to the sector, to increase its sustainability and economic performance. They also emphasized the necessity to ensure the provision of nutritious, healthy and safe food and to reduce the EU’s high dependence on imports of fishery and aquaculture products, therefore contributing to food security. Ministers further highlighted the main challenges and threats to the competitiveness and resiliency of the aquaculture sector in the EU and stressed the implementation of the European Green Deal objectives through organic and environmentally friendly aquaculture. In this context, they called for the establishment of a transparent EU system for recognising and rewarding producers for environmentally friendly aquaculture management. They moreover recommended increasing consumer awareness of all the benefits of aquaculture.
More information: European Council – Press release