06 Nov 2017


Brussels, Brussels Daily

Main results (results in full here)


The Council was updated by the Commission on the state of play of trade-related agricultural issues, and in particular on the negotiations with Mexico, Mercosur and in the WTO. Ministers welcomed the progress made but also expressed concern about the possible impact of free trade agreements on sensitive agricultural products such as beef, ethanol and sugar. They also encouraged the Commission to involve member states even more closely in the negotiations.

“Trade deals are vital for the European Union and can help our farmers thrive internationally. We want to make sure that any future agreement duly takes account of the sensitivities of the agricultural sectors, protects our farmers and boosts their competitiveness”

Tarmo Tamm, Minister of Rural Affairs of the Republic of Estonia.

Sustainable soil management

The presidency reported on the outcome of the high level conference on ‘Soil for sustainable food productions and ecosystem services’, which took place in Tallinn in October. Ministers welcomed the initiative and discussed how to maintain the current high level of agricultural production while ensuring that agricultural soils are managed sustainably, as well as possible strategies to protect valuable agricultural soils. Ministers addressed the specific issue of soil sealing and loss of agricultural land, acknowledging that the solutions will depend mostly on national specificities while exchange of best practices should be encouraged.

“Sustainable management of soil plays an important role in ensuring food security. There are ways of encouraging the sustainable intensification of food production, whilst ensuring the quality of agricultural soils. This can be achieved, for example, through knowledge transfer and innovation. In addition, it is important to raise awareness and create additional incentives for farmers through supportive measures. These aspects should be taken into account in the future CAP.”

Tarmo Tamm, Minister of Rural Affairs of the Republic of Estonia


The Commission informed the Council about the results of its report on the sustainable use of pesticides. During the debate that followed the presentation, ministers shared ideas on current and future measures to achieve the objectives of the European directive on the sustainable use of pesticides, and on how to speed up the implementation of the integrated pest management principles.

“The sustainable use of pesticides matters to our citizens,They not only want safe food, but also food that is produced with the highest respect for human health and the environment. We want to improve the current situation so that the health of our people is better protected across the EU”.

Tarmo Tamm, Minister of Rural Affairs of the Republic of Estonia

Other topics on the agenda

Ministers were also informed about the outcome of the summit on ‘Equal quality of products for all‘ and the results of the Visegrad group meeting on 21 September, and in particular its deliberations on the renewable energy directive and the ongoing BIOEAST initiative in the field of knowledge-based agriculture, aquaculture and forestry in the bioeconomy.

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