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Central, Eastern European countries discuss future of CAP in Hungary

BC, Tallinn, 14.06.2018.Print version
Central and Eastern European countries belonging to the European Union at a meeting in Hungary discussed the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the situation of the agricultural markets, reports LETA/BNS.

Representatives of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia met in Babolna, Hungary on Monday and Tuesday to share stances regarding the European Commission's proposals concerning the budget of the European Union and the future of CAP, give an assessment of the situation of the agricultural markets and sign a joint declaration concerning the BIOEAST initiative, the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs said.

The European Commission in May submitted its proposals concerning the budget of the European Union's next program period and at the beginning of June submitted bills concerning the future of CAP. "Active discussions on topics concerning the future of CAP have been launched and member states are looking for common ground on their stances," the Ministry of Rural Affairs' deputy secretary general for agricultural and rural life policies Marko Gorban, who participated in the meeting, said.

"One of the central topics of the discussions concerning the future was the future budget of CAP. It is important for Estonia that in a situation where our production expenses are higher than the EU average and support at the same time is lower than the average, a significant step is take to bringing our direct support closer to the EU average. At the same time, rural life support must not significantly decrease as they have an important role to play in ensuring the sustainability of the agricultural and food sector and the rural areas," Gorban added.

According to Gorban, the situation on the agricultural markets is stable, even though there are exceptions in some member states and product groups. The prices and outlook of dairy products are stable, currently the only area of concern is the EU's skimmed milk powder stocks and price. The prices of pork are impacted by increased manufacturing, the stable demand of the internal market, increasing import and decreasing export.

"After several difficult years, the agricultural sector has emerged from the last crisis and by today, the situation on the markets has calmed. As a result of the CAP reforms, the agricultural policy is more oriented to the market, which at the same time means that we are also more open to market risks. In order to ensure that the income of the agricultural sector is stable and the agricultural producers are better prepared for future crises, risk management in agriculture must be dealt with more than before," Gorban said.

BIOEAST is a Central and Eastern European initiative for knowledge-based agriculture, aquaculture and forestry in the bioeconomy. At the meeting, the participating EU member states signed a joint declaration concerning the vision of the BIOEAST initiative.

"In light of the competitiveness of agriculture and the food sector and climate and environmental problems, we have invested in research and development activity and innovation with key importance. This is why the proposal of the European Commission in the new budget to allocate 10 billion euros in the framework of the Horizon Europe program to research and innovation concerning food, agriculture, rural life and bioeconomy is very positive," Gorban said.

Estonian representatives participating in the meeting included the Ministry of Rural Affairs' deputy secretary general for agricultural and rural life policies Marko Gorban and chief specialist at the ministry's European Union affairs department Mihkel Karg.

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