The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will affect the lives and have direct impact on European farmers, consumers and our societies, in general, writes Spilios Livanos.
Spilios Livanos is Greece’s Minister of Rural Development and Food.
This is a crucial period for the Ministers of Agriculture of the 27 EU member states who are meeting in Brussels this week to work toward completing a very long, demanding and challenging procedure.
Optimistically, I am confident that we will successfully cross the finish line and bridge the gap of pending issues regarding the inter-institutional negotiations of the new CAP 2023-2027 reform.
At the European level, we have decided to set an ambitious target to become climate neutral by 2050. The European Green Deal is our pathway to a better, sustainable future for our planet and our continent. Our mission, here and now, is to create a healthier life in all aspects for the generations to come.
In this context, the CAP 2023-2027 and the respective 27 Strategic Plans are the key in achieving the common goals of the Green Deal for Europe. These plans set out and clearly present the strategy and specific interventions of each member state to achieve the CAP objectives according to the Green Deal. The so-called Green Architecture, and especially the specific requirements and actions set in Pillar I under the title Eco-schemes, are key in this respect.
However, although we all share the importance of environmental care and the consequences of climate change on the agricultural sector, for the strategic plans and their interventions to work in practice, they have to be implemented. The responsibility of every member state to adapt will ensure the prosperity of our farmers facilitating their everyday working routine.
Furthermore, while I and my colleagues in the Council are dedicated to achieving this European goal, clearly, there is no room for institutional power games and political opportunism in this process.
The protection of the environment, tackling climate change and ensuring the well-being of our farmers and consumers is no one person’s back yard or exclusive stage. There is no place for political ‘shades’ of blue, green or red. All of us, in serving our citizens, regardless of our political and ideological beliefs, have to rise to the occasion and perform our best.
This also the case when dealing with exceptional weather events such as the frosts occurred in France, Greece and Italy, after some weeks of mild weather, during the last week of March and the first of April. While the evaluations are not yet finalised, the preliminary estimations show unprecedented damages in the viticultural, fruit and vegetable sectors.
Together with my French and Italian colleagues, we have taken the initiative to officially notify the European Commission and raise the issue in this Council meeting. We believe that now is the time for the European Union to show tangible solidarity, provide substantial financial assistance, activate all available measures and stand with the agricultural sector and farmers. The primary producers have already taken a heavy toll during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the food supply of European citizens through these tough times.
While these and other similar events which are directly linked to climate change are expected to challenge the agricultural sector more often and more intensively in the near future, we urgently need to take action.
On a European level we need to develop viable and future-proof mechanisms to better protect and support our farmers and producers.
We must never forget that our ultimate mission and mandate is to serve European citizens, the people of our countries, our farmers, and more importantly in our case, encourage the development of more nutrient and environmentally friendly food products, aligned with the evolving expectations of the global community.