Panenić: CAP must be an efficient mechanism for addressing market instabilities and provide adequate solutions for boosting the resilience of agriculture to climate change
Conference participants point to the importance of the active role of national parliaments in discussions on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy post 2020
Zagreb, 23 November 2018 – In the final part of the Conference “The Role of Parliaments in Shaping the Future of Food and Farming” held in the Croatian Parliament on Friday, the participants discussed the importance of further debate on the post 2020 Common Agricultural Policy in national parliaments. The participants shared the opinion that such an exchange of experiences and views among Member States parliaments in shaping the new CAP for the period 2021-2027 was extremely important.
Martin Preineder, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry of the Austrian National Assembly and chairman of this debate, said that the EU motto “United in Diversity” can be applied on agriculture as well, which was clearly demonstrated during this Conference. – It is our task to find in this diversity common positions and solutions with different implementation possibilities, Preineder said. He continued by addressing the specific features of Austrian agriculture, pointing out that as much as 23% of the country’s production is based on biological production, which is the highest rate in the EU and in the world. According to Preineder, the major challenges for the future of European agriculture are climate change, environment protection and young people leaving rural areas. – We should inspire young people to get into politics and in order to achieve that we have to maintain the existing level of direct payments, invest in infrastructure and provide balanced solutions for climate changes and environmental protection, said Pat Deering, Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in his introductory speech. He emphasized that direct payments, environmental measures, risk management and generational renewal as well as the protection of rural areas were the most important segments of the future Common Agricultural Policy.
Alexandre Freschi, Member of the European Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly, talked about sustainable agriculture but also about economic, social and environmental sustainability together with better and fairer distribution of support to farmers. – the CAP must be more efficient and simpler in terms of administration. Citizens and farmers should have confidence in it, Freschi said. He emphasized in particular the need to define the forms of agricultural production which should be supported more strongly, especially in the context of ensuring health, life and a better relationship towards the environment.
Croatian MEP Ivan Jakovčić believes that product excellence and emphasis on quality are key to the future of agricultural production. “Only with excellent products can we be competitive and the CAP needs to insist on this, because in this way we will generate additional motivation and profit for agriculture, while consumers will be more satisfied and healthier,” Jakovčić concluded.
This opinion is shared by the Chair of the EP’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development Czesław Siekierski, who pointed out in his closing statement that diversity was our strength. “We have different histories, traditions and customs, but we are tied by shared values,” Siekierski said. He also added that adequate support instruments should be devised that would be intended for everyone, but as the support itself is not enough, more needs to be done to increase agricultural income and improve the living standards of farmers. – Citizens should be informed about the specificity of agricultural policy and engaged in the social dialogue, and co-operation among national parliaments needs to continue, concluded Siekierski.
The Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, host and initiator of this two-day Interparliamentary Conference Tomislav Panenić once again emphasized the importance of the active role of national parliaments in making key decisions, but also the active role of agricultural producers who are increasingly following the global trends in agriculture. – This conference is a unique opportunity where we have expressed our views and presented them to the highest-ranking EU officials in charge of agriculture, Panenić said. He stressed that everyone in the European Union wanted a safe and sustainable agricultural production and that the CAP had to be an effective mechanism for addressing market instabilities and to provide adequate ways for boosting the resilience of agriculture to climate change. – Direct payments in agriculture are crucial for the further development of agricultural production, and development of agricultural production is the key to rural development, Panenić concluded.
This session marked the end of the two-day international conference attended by the representatives of the national parliaments of twenty EU Member States, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the largest interest group of European food producers Copa-Cogeca, the Croatian Centre for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Agriculture and Forestry Advisory Service, the Croatian Food Agency, the Croatian Chamber of Economy, the Croatian Chamber of Agriculture, the Croatian Association of Young Farmers and the Association “Best of Međimurje”.