“The European Council discussed the challenges in the agricultural sector and the concerns raised by farmers,” European leaders say in their conclusions Summit, during which about a thousand tractors from Belgium and other countries flooded Brussels.
“Reminding her essential role Common Agricultural Policy, we call on the Council and the Commission to proceed with the work as required. The European Council will monitor the situation”, the “27” leaders add in their conclusions.
Shortly after the conclusion of the extraordinary summit in Brussels, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addressed the agricultural issue, emphasizing the “essential role” of farmers in Europe's economy and economy. “Their work contributes greatly to our food security and indeed to our way of life. They are key factors in ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources. They live with nature and from nature,” said the head of the Commission.
He also highlighted that productivity in the EU improved by 13% thanks to the efforts of farmers who also contribute positively to the EU's external trade.Last year, agricultural exports grew by 5%. So I think it's fair to say that our farmers have shown remarkable resilience in the face of the recent crisis, but there are still many challenges,” said the Commission president. He also admitted that there is pressure on the prices of agricultural products which face a lot of competition from the world market, at a time when European products must meet high standards for the protection of the environment.
“Farmers can count on European support,” said Ursula von der Leyen afterwards, noting that the Common Agricultural Policy budget has around 390 billion euros. This is almost a third of the European budget for agriculture, and in 2023 alone, Europe provided more than €500 million in emergency aid to the farmers most affected by the crisis.
Von der Leyen also referred to the Commission's recent proposal for flexibility for farmers regarding set-aside and protecting European products from poultry importseggs and sugar from Ukraine.
Furthermore, the President of the Commission said that the EU must defend the legitimate interests of farmers in trade negotiations, especially in terms of ensuring a level playing field.
Finally, to reduce the administrative burden on farmers, Ursula von der Leyen said that the Commission together with the Belgian EU Council Presidency, will work on a proposal to be discussed at the next EU Agricultural Council.
On the strategic dialogue on the future of agriculture launched last week by the EU with representatives of farmers and other stakeholders and NGOs, Ursula von der Leyen said the aim is to draw up a road map to achieve “our shared goals” aimed at climate neutrality by 2050. The answers will be given in the medium and long term and will feed into the program of the next term of the Commission.
After the end of the work of the Summit, the representative of the Commission, Eric Mamer confirmed that a meeting is being held between the representatives of the Copa-Cogeca European trade union association and the president of the European Commission and the Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croix, at the Residence Palace building, located next to the European Council building.
Source: News Beast
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