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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Minister Jože Podgoršek attends an informal Council meeting in Lisbon

By: UKOM

Minister Jože Podgoršek has attended an informal meeting of EU agriculture and fisheries ministers. The meeting was important in view of the possible continuation of the ministerial discussion on key remaining questions about the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, taking into account that the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the European Parliament did not reach an agreement at the last meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council. The ministers have also discussed the topics of “Food systems, innovation and management of natural resources” and “Future of the Common Fisheries Policy”. The meeting was important in light of the preparation for the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

The Portuguese Presidency chose two topics for discussion at today’s informal Council meeting. The ministers responsible for agriculture discussed the topic of “Food systems, innovation and management of natural resources”, while the ministers responsible for fisheries discussed the “Future of the Common Fisheries Policy”.

Food systems, innovation and management of natural resources:

At the informal Council meeting, agriculture ministers stressed that the Farm To Fork Strategy and the 2030 Biodiversity strategy are crucial for the transition to sustainable agriculture and sustainable food systems. They lay down the following requirements and commitments of Member States: a quantitative reduction of the risk and use of pesticides, the reduction in the use of fertilizers, a higher share of agricultural lands dedicated to organic farming and a higher share of agricultural lands with landscape features. Slovenia considers that the planned activities can significantly contribute to economic and social benefits of local and regional communities and job creation. Minister Podgoršek observed that he is fully aware that the transition will be difficult and that insisting on past farming methods would not strengthen food supply. The main reason behind this are the ecological threats to farmers, which were brought about by climate change. Slovenia therefore defines sustainable agriculture and food production and food security as an area of national interest. The role of small farmers and short supply chains is also at the forefront.

Future of the Common Fisheries Policy:

The ministers stressed that the key objective of the Common Fisheries Policy is to ensure that fishing and aquaculture activities are environmentally sustainable in the long term and managed in such a way to facilitate economic and social benefits and job creation and contribute to a reliable food supply. It also has to ensure that the exploitation of living marine biological resources allows the populations of the caught fish species to be restored and maintained above the level that guarantees sustainable yield. A reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is therefore adopted every ten years. Since the current period expires in 2022, the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy will take place next year. Mr Podgoršek observed that we must continue to strengthen the Common Fisheries Policy, in particular in order to ensure an appropriate response and resilience of the fisheries sector to the challenges that the sector has faced during the Covid-19 epidemic. He added that the specifics of the small-scale inshore fishing and small fisheries sectors have to be duly taken into account in this context. Slovenia considers that the regulation on the extension of the regime for access to waters should to be adopted in due time since it is crucial for fisheries in the European Union and Slovenia. The European Commission plans to put forward a proposal for a provisional regulation as early as this month.

The ministers will meet again for an official meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg on 28 and 29 June. The main task of the Portuguese Presidency will be to reach a political agreement on the CAP reform. If the Portuguese Presidency does not succeed in doing so in Luxembourg, Slovenia will take over the task.

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