PES AGRI ministers spotlight more support for EU agriculture sector

PES AGRI ministers spotlight more support for EU agriculture sector

Pictured second from right: Meeting Chair and Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Rasmus Prehn, to his right Maltese Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Dr Anton Refalo, to his right PES Deputy Secretary General Yonnec Polet.

More short-, medium- and long-term strategic planning is needed to support Europe’s agricultural sector through turbulent times, socialist and democratic agriculture ministers stated today.

Gathering in Brussels, Belgium, to coordinate ahead of today’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council, progressives exchanged on key issues for consumers and the farming and fishing sectors. Global agricultural markets, fishing rights for 2023, EU animal welfare legislation, and CAP Strategic Plans were all on the meeting agenda.

Meeting Chair and Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Rasmus Prehn said:

“We must ensure resilient food systems that deliver for citizens and safeguard the environment. Right now, we have seen the price of fertilisers more than doubled, and the price of energy is significantly increased too. That requires urgent action, or food prices will become increasingly unfordable for citizens.

“Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine continues to significantly disrupt global agricultural markets. It shows how necessary it is to sustainably change our food system and secure strategic autonomy. That requires investment in climate-resilient food systems in collaboration with small-scale farmers and fishers. The European Green Deal offers the clear way forward.”

According to Eurostat, in the second quarter of 2022 the average price of goods and services consumed in agriculture has been marked by a 36% increase compared to 2021. Agricultural products are now 25% more expensive, with prices for cereal up 68%, for oilseed and certain fruit up 59% and eggs up 45%.

To alleviate the pressure the crisis is putting on both farmers and consumer, progressives back more support for farmers and fertiliser producers, the possibility of making use of the agricultural reserve (EUR 450mn), and the implementation of effective CAP strategic plans to deliver affordable and sustainable food systems.

Ministers also exchanged on fishing opportunities for 2023 and expressed their desire for a political agreement to be reached swiftly on fishing rights for 2023 in EU and non-EU waters, in the Atlantic, the North Sea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. On animal welfare legislation, the meeting discussed progressive priorities for the new animal welfare acquis which the European Commission will present next year. Ministers also exchanged on CAP Strategic Plans, underlining the need to ensure all are consistent with EU legislation and commitments related to climate and the environment, including the Farm to Fork and biodiversity strategies.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Rasmus Prehn, meeting Chair, and Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Denmark
  • Dr Anton Refalo, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Right, Malta
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES