Bulgaria Takes Forward the Debate on the Future of the Common Agricultural Policy
This Monday the EU agriculture ministers formally exchanged views for the first time on the Commission’s proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 in a meeting chaired by Bulgarian Minister for Agriculture Rumen Porodzanov. The outcome of the debate will give guidance to the experts discussing the technical aspects of the proposal, who have already begun to examine it under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council and will continue to do so in the months to come.
Ministers also had the opportunity today to react to the Commission’s proposal for a new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) worth €6.14 billion for investments in the maritime economy and support for fishing communities.
Commenting on today’s discussions, minister Porodzanov said:
"Today we had key discussions on the future of our agriculture and fisheries. In the years to come both sectors will not only have to keep ensuring food security for Europe, but also meet the challenges of sustainability, innovation and generational renewal. The Council wants to make sure that both sectors are equipped with the right tools and financial resources to face these challenges.“
The future of the EU´s CAP has been central to the work of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council in the area of agriculture. For the first three months of its Presidency, Bulgaria worked to bring member states together and enable them to agree on a common position to feed into the Commission's work on the proposal. As a result, in March the Presidency adopted conclusions on the future of the CAP and submitted them to the Commission for consideration.
In the second half of its Presidency, Bulgaria continued to steer the debate on this topic. At the beginning of June, during their informal meeting in Sofia, the Commission gave EU agriculture ministers a glimpse of the Commission proposal in an informal presentation. Today, they have had a fully-fledged formal presentation and an initial debate on its substance.
Ministers welcomed various elements of the proposals but expressed concerns about the cutsproposed by the Commission to the CAP budget in general and rural development in particular, and were sceptical as to the capacity of the new CAP to deliver genuine simplification for national authorities and farmers. The full debate is available online here.
The Bulgarian Presidency organised the debate on the new EMFF less than a week after the Commission put forward its proposal. During today´s debate, ministers welcomed the ambition of the EMFF to contribute to a sustainable EU fisheries sector and to support coastal communities dependent on fisheries activities – two of the main objectives of our Common Fisheries Policy. They also supported its continued role in promoting the blue economy in fisheries and aquaculture thus supporting growth and job creation, while safeguarding the marine environment.
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