Politics & Economics

One step towards farmers: the Council aligns with the common EU vision

May 2024
By Editorial Staff

The Member States made it clear: the EU needs to be more careful towards farmers’ needs. That is what the latest Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg stated. Through the breakfast directives and the rapid response to the agricultural crisis, the Council aligned with the EU institutions’ vision of needs.

As the European Council on the 18th and 19th of April affirmed, “Farmers require a stable and predictable framework, including to accompany them in tackling environmental and climate challenges”. This is a common position that the institutions share and is now approved by the ministers of Member states as well.

In response, the agriculture ministers reviewed the actions taken and initiatives proposed under the EU’s efforts to address farmers’ issues. They emphasized the European Parliament’s recent endorsement of amendments to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which came from a Commission proposal following the political direction from the Council meeting held in February.

Ministers also addressed potential future actions to alleviate the administrative burden of the EU’s agricultural policy on farmers and member-state authorities. They also discussed measures to enhance the position of farmers in the food supply chain.

These measures comprehended revisiting the directive concerning unfair trading practices, streamlining the approval process for CAP strategic plans, postponing the implementation of the deforestation regulation, and reassessing certain technical aspects of monitoring within the CAP, such as image geotagging.

Moreover, several Member States endorsed a proposal from Germany to increase the threshold for de minimis state aid from 25,000 euros to 50,000 euros.

“Today’s discussion shows our commitment to keeping farmers’ concerns at the top of the work at the EU level, to avoid the excessive administrative burden, making sure that farmers have a strong position in the food supply chain and, in the end, receive a fair income for their work”, concludes David Clarinval, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Self-Employed, SMEs and Agriculture, Institutional Reforms and Democratic Renewal during the press conference. The Council should adopt the proposed amendments to the CAP on 13 May 2024.

Another update comes from the revised “breakfast directives”, rules on the composition, labeling, and naming of some products typically used during breakfast, such as honey, fruit juices, fruit jams, and dehydrated milk, adopted unanimously by the ministers. The set of directives aims to help consumers be more aware of the origins of the products and reduce food fraud. “Increased transparency will empower consumers to make more informed and healthier choices”, claims David Clarinval at the end of the votes.