The European Council reached three important political agreements for Europe’s agriculture and fisheries sectors during the two-day Council in Luxembourg.
After an intense negotiation session, ministers agreed a general approach on the post-2020 common agriculture policy (CAP) reform package. The agreement highlights strong commitments from Member States for higher environmental ambition by introducing instruments like mandatory eco-schemes (a novelty compared to the current policy) and enhanced conditionality. The agreed position also allows for Member States to have the necessary flexibility in how they would reach environmental goals.
“Today’s agreement is a milestone for Europe’s agricultural policy,” commented Julia Klöckner, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture of Germany. “Member States demonstrated their ambition for higher environmental standards in farming and at the same time supported the needed flexibility in ensuring farmers’ competitiveness. This agreement fulfils the aspiration of a greener, fairer and simpler CAP.”
At the same time, the Council adopted unanimously a set of conclusions on the farm to fork strategy, endorsing the goal of developing a European sustainable food system, from production to consumption. The conclusions entail a two-fold political message from the Member States: ensure sufficient and affordable food while contributing to EU climate neutrality by 2050 and ensuring a fair income and strong support for primary producers.
In particular, prior to the meeting, Slovakia’s Minister of Environment Ján Budaj called for a modernisation of the agricultural sector in order to preserve the country’s biodiversity and meet climate goals.
“Slovakia needs a modern agriculture that protects nature and provides healthy food,” he emphasised.
He called on the main stakeholders and decision-makers to set measures to motivate farmers to take care of the environment, biodiversity and pollinators. Mr Budaj reminded that currently, many European countries face the same issues such as inappropriate land management, deforestation, overgrazing, unsustainable agricultural and forestry practices, as well as construction activities and loss of soil permeability. Therefore, change is needed.
“It is important that the new agricultural policy supports farmers who are respectful of nature,” he said.