Transitional CAP, German protest, Brexit uncertainty

Your weekly update on all things Agriculture & Food in the EU.

Welcome to EURACTIV’s AgriFood Brief, your weekly update on all things Agriculture & Food in the EU. You can subscribe here if you haven’t done so yet.

During its mandate, the Croatian EU presidency wants to secure an agreement on transitional regulations that will extend current rules for at least a year, as it is virtually impossible that the CAP reform will be ready before the start of 2021-2027 programming period. EURACTIV’s Gerardo Fortuna sat down with Croatian Agriculture minister Marija Vučković to speak about this and other priorities of the Croatian presidency for farming and fisheries. Read more here.


News from the week

Germans protest in Berlin demanding radical change of the agricultural sector

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Berlin in the tenth “We’re fed up with it!” rally on Saturday (18 January) in an effort to bring about a radical change in Germany’s agricultural sector. EURACTIV Germany reports.

EU bets on bioeconomy to deliver farming aspects of the Green Deal

The European Commission and the member states intend to use the concept of bioeconomy as a tool to achieve political priorities at the core of the bloc’s new environmental flagship policy when it comes to agriculture. Gerardo Fortuna has the story.

New UK Agriculture Bill

The UK government revealed a new version of their post-Brexit agriculture legislation Thursday (16 January) as part of a radical shift to move subsidies away from the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) system of direct payments, which correlates payments with the total amount of land farmed. Natasha Foote has the story.

Brexit causing uncertainty for EU fisherman

Fishermen from France’s Brittany region have asked the European Commission to address the uncertainty caused by Brexit for the fisheries sector, ensuring access by European fishermen to fish in British waters. Read more here.

The situation of small farms in Europe

EURACTIV Poland’s video reportage, “The situation of small farms in Europe”, covers the issues of the support for small and large farms and possibilities for small-area farms to innovate and better adapt to market needs. Watch the video here.

French bio-waste finds second life in building insulation

By using hemp, brewers grains and spelt husk, many French SMEs are starting to manufacture natural insulation materials based on bio-sourced materials and biowaste, providing a ‘green’ alternative to conventional insulation. EURACTIV France reports.

Quote of the Week

“The Croatian presidency thinks that the new Farm2Fork strategy will, in an innovative and ambitious way, include topics like plant protection or plant health, animal welfare, and, particularly, the upgrade of food waste management.

Croatian Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković, in an interview with EURACTIV

Agrifood news from around Europe

Abandoning glyphosate and switching to fully mechanical weed control would result in an average additional cost equivalent to 7.1% of the gross surplus of winegrowing farms, according to a recent analysis by INRA. Romain Loury Romain Loury from EURACTIV France’s partner, the Journal de l’environnement, has the story at


Protests against the German government’s agricultural policy continue. As Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in the Bavarian town of Deggendorf on Wednesday (21 January), she was greeted by a protest of farmers and around 50 tractors. These local farmers feel neglected by federal policies and wanted to attract the Chancellor’s attention to the challenges they face.  (Sarah Lawton |


The annual Winter Conference of the Eco-Social Forum began in Vienna on Tuesday (21 January) with a focus on agricultural policy in the face of climate change. In his speech, EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski was critical of the planned cuts to the CAP, which would decrease the subsidies to Austrian farmers by €120 million annually. However, he was quick to emphasise that questions of funding are “all in the hands of the member states.” (Sarah Lawton |


Beef produced in Uganda will have an “honoured place” on the UK’s supermarket shelves post-Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at the UK-Africa investment summit in London on Monday (20 January).  He said this is part of his ambition to build a new future for the UK as a “global free-trading nation” and “intensify and expand trade”.  (Natasha Foote |


Irish MEPs have been urged to reject the EU proposal for a 30-day pre-movement TB test for animals from herds that are over six months tested, with the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) animal health chairman, Pat Farrell, saying that the test is an “unnecessary, anti-competitive measure that impacts disproportionately on Irish farmers”. (Natasha Foote |


Italy’s competition authority fined German discount retailer Lidl €1 million for an unfair trade practice, as the company gave misleading information to consumers when some pasta products were branded as Italian even though they did not contain only Italian durum wheat.
(Gerardo Fortuna |


Greek olive oil producers have accused the government of lack of support as they sell at a price well below production cost. The island of Crete particularly is facing a critical situation considering that in some areas the price has reached 50% of the production cost. Producers have called on the creation of a national olive oil management body to handle the matter. (Sarantis Michalopoulos |


Spanish olive growers have claimed an important victory in a U.S. court, which could help lift some of the duties imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration, Spain’s olive exporters’ association said on Tuesday that duties could be lowered to 20% from 35% as a result of the decision. (


The government wants to introduce a tax on artificially sweetened drinks after Polish children were found to be at high risk of being overweight. However, a number of leading agricultural organisations oppose the charge, saying it will be harmful to fruit growers, producers, and consumers.  (Łukasz Gadzała |


Over the past two months, Bulgarian authorities have seized 170 tonnes of chicken contaminated with salmonella, which was imported from Poland. The latest 50 tonnes of the meat were found before reaching the supermarkets, and the first 100 tonnes was discovered in December. Bulgaria has notified the Polish authorities of the problem. (Krassen Nikolov |


Romania’s Agriculture Ministry will grant temporary permission for using neonicotinoid-treated corn and sugarbeet seeds in emergency cases. However, the ministry won’t allow neonicotinoid-based treatments for sunflower, one of the major honey crops.
(Bogdan Neagu |


The State veterinary inspection has stepped up control of biosecurity measures on poultry farms in Croatia after eastern Europe recorded an increase in highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8, with more than 10 reported cases in four EU countries including Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.  (Karla Juničić |

On our radar this week

  • Today, the Joint Research Centre presents the state of play and first preliminary findings on its economic assessment of the dual quality of food products to the Internal Market (IMCO) Committee of the European Parliament
  • On 29th-30th January, EFSA’s scientific panel on GMO convenes to discuss, inter alia, genetically modified organisms engineered with gene drives.

Upcoming events 

  • Agrifish Council 27 January
  • Politique agricole – quel accompagnement pour encourager l’installation des jeunes agriculteurs?
    28 January – A EURACTIV France roundtable event about the CAP post-2020 and how it can support generational renewal in farming. See here for more details.
  • Food for the Future: Accelerating the Protein Transition
    29th January – Showcasing the Protein2Food project results and examining the policy implications for the future of protein-rich crops in Europe. More information here.

Sneak Peek

Today, there will be a EURACTIV Agrifood Twitter Chat about how the CAP can respond to climate change.

Be sure to watch out for our two special reports next week.

The first will take a look at sustainability issues in the food supply chain, featuring articles on labelling issues and the perspective of farmers on the upcoming Farm2Fork strategy.

The second will focus on how agriculture can contribute to the aims of the European Green Deal. 

Look out as well for coverage of the European Land Owners event, which will explore innovative agricultural solutions for making the EU climate positive.

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