ZAGREB, Jan 28 (Croatia Sun News) – Farmers and fishermen can make a great contribution to achieving the target of climate neutrality in Europe, but will need aid from the EU budget, Croatian Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic said on Monday.
Vuckovic chaired a meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council which discussed, among other things, the agricultural aspect of the European Green Deal and transitional measures for financing the common agricultural policy.
“The transition to a climate neutral economy is one of the biggest challenges facing the EU. Farmers and fishermen will play a key role in achieving this goal, but will need assistance,” Vuckovic told the press after the meeting.
The new “field to table” strategy and the common agricultural policy are identified in the European Green Deal as chief tools to help farmers and fishermen in combating climate change, protecting the environment and conserving biodiversity.
The European Commission has proposed that 40 percent of the budget intended for agriculture in 2021-2027 and at least 30 percent of the Fisheries Fund should be directed at fighting climate change. The “field to table” strategy, which the Commission will unveil in the spring, aims to make the EU food system healthier and environmentally friendlier by restricting the use of pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics and reducing the environmental impact of the food industry and the retail sector.
Since the new strategic plans for agriculture will be not adopted in time, the EU agriculture ministers discussed transitional measures for financing farmers in 2021.
“Our future policies must ensure a fair transition and a decent life for farmers. At the same time, European farmers deserve certainty and predictability. That’s why we need to reach agreement on transitional measures as soon as possible while ensuring the functioning of the existing measures during the transition period,” Vuckovic said.
During a working lunch, the EU ministers spoke with United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who warned that the US agricultural trade deficit with the EU was illogical because the EU has almost twice as many consumers as the US and considerably less arable land.
Perdue complained about EU food safety standards, saying that the EU should review its decision to ban imports of chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef from the US.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose customs duties on European cars unless the two sides make progress in trade talks, which have hit a standstill over agriculture because the EU does not want to lower sanitary standards for agricultural products.