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Monday, 20 January 2014

The EU farming sector in line with society's expectations

“Together with the 28 Member States and the European Parliament, we have reformed the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). This reform reflects choices already made – to encourage farmers to produce what consumers want and not what public authorities decide” said Dacian Cioloş European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development during the opening Ceremony of the International Green Week held in Berlin on the 16 January 2014. “At the same time, we wanted to encourage farmers to take into account not only our choices as consumers – healthy, safe, quality and affordable products – but also our choices as citizens, with concerns for the environment and our future” he added.
Following the turn of the century, the EU set itself far-reaching objectives: traceability of food products, animal welfare, restrictions on certain substances such as hormones in livestock production. These two elements – taking account of consumer expectations and our capacity to regenerate natural productive resources in a sustainable way - are two interlinked features of the competitiveness of modern farming: not only to produce, but also to be in line with society's expectations. They are two essential components of the ‘Made in Europe’ label – which give an identity to our agri-food sector throughout the world.
The European Commission (EC) has recently proposed to redefine and strengthen the promotion of EU agri-food products, both within the EU and on international markets. The EC proposed to triple the budget allocated to promotion actions by 2020. At international level, equally, the stakes are high for our agri-food sector, centred in particular exports of high added-value, quality, processed products. The trade policy must be based on the obvious assets of the agri-food products and should not rely on public policy tools to support exports, which risk affecting the capacity of others to develop their own agriculture, especially in less developed countries.
Since 1 January, EU legislation is also very clear: export refunds have ceased to exist as a means of systematically supporting a sector. Moreover, Dacian Cioloş said he is prepared to go one step further in the framework of preferential partnership agreements with African countries: “I am ready to propose to stop, once and for all, the use of export refunds to those developing country destinations – even in times of crisis when this instrument can still be used. This commitment will bring our agricultural policy fully into line with EU development policy.”

Source: European Commission