Informal meeting of ministers for agriculture and fisheries, 4-5 September in Tallinn, Estonia
|European Union ministers for agriculture and fisheries met today, 5 September, to discuss risk management measures in the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) during the informal meeting in the Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel). The ministers came to the conclusion that the current CAP is not prepared enough for times of crisis and that farmers should not be left alone in risk management.
Future Common Agricultural Policy needs to offer farmers crisis preparation tools
European Union ministers for agriculture and fisheries met today, 5 September, to discuss risk management measures in the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) during the informal meeting in the Tallinn Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel). The ministers came to the conclusion that the current CAP is not prepared enough for times of crisis and that farmers should not be left alone in risk management.
According to the Minister for Rural Affairs of Estonia, Tarmo Tamm, who chaired the meeting, CAP needs to offer farmers tools that will improve their readiness for times of crisis and increase the competitiveness of farmers in open market conditions.
The ministers came to the conclusion that the crisis reserve system has to be revised and the implementation of the system needs to be made faster and more flexible. It was thought that risk management measures have to take the specifics of different member states into consideration. The ministers also came to an agreement that direct supports have an important role in securing stable incomes in the agricultural sector.
“The last crisis also showed us that direct supports help farmers get through the most difficult times,” Minister for Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm stressed.
The main topic of the informal meeting was ‘Risk management: Empowering our farmers with effective tools to manage risks post-2020’. Delegations from 28 member states, and representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament, the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, Copa-Cogeca, and CEJA took part in the meeting. Additionally, visitors had the opportunity to get acquainted with Estonian cuisine, culture, and nature, as well as taking part in the discussions.
A meeting of the European Union’s Special Committee on Agriculture was held in Tallinn at the same time as the informal meeting of ministers for agriculture and fisheries. During the meeting, the Committee discussed the topics related to the simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union (the Omnibus regulation).
During the second half of today’s informal meeting of EU ministers for agriculture and fisheries (AGRIFISH), European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis discussed the unlawful use of fipronil in egg production.
Commissioner Andriukaitis informed the EU ministers on the steps taken by his commission and the actions that will follow. He also invited the ministers to a high-level ministerial meeting in Brussels on 26 September to discuss how to improve the way EU networks are dealing with food safety and food fraud.
“The meeting on 26 September will be an opportunity to draw some conclusions that we will then be able to present at our next formal Council meeting,” Andriukaitis said, stressing that he “will remain extremely vigilant and will not tolerate anyone’s criminal actions putting into question the integrity of our entire food chain – one of the economic pillars of the Union, and our good reputation.”
The Minister for Rural Affairs of Estonia, Tarmo Tamm, said that the health of EU citizens is extremely important and that the Estonian Presidency will take this issue very seriously.
“There is a need for further improvement in the cooperation and exchange of information between countries in order to resolve these kinds of crisis situations faster and more efficiently,” Minister Tamm stressed.
In several EU member states, authorities have found eggs and egg products that have been contaminated with fipronil. Fipronil is used in veterinary drugs, such as flea, lice and tick treatments on cats and dogs, and as an insecticide against cockroaches, ants and termites. Using fipronil on the animals involved in food production, including chickens, is not allowed.
While the risk to human health is low, the consequences of this criminal activity have greatly impacted consumer confidence, as the ramifications of the illegal use of fipronil on laying hens has become an EU-wide issue with hundreds of farms blocked from production.
Small quantities of egg products contaminated with fipronil have also made it to Estonia. Currently, supervision authorities are assessing the extent of their distribution in the Estonian market