Federal Minister Elisabeth Köstinger: Strengthen the origin of food – Guarantee its quality in Europe
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020 needs to satisfy new requirements
European agriculture faces major challenges. Climate change and its repercussions on food production in Europe, the position of agriculture in the food value chain and consumers’ wish to buy local food are new challenges for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020.
“What kind of agricultural model do Europeans want for the future? This will be a central decision to be taken during the negotiations. The Austrian way forward is clear: quality instead of quantity. But we in Europe have to walk this path together”, the Federal Minister for Sustainability and Tourism Elisabeth Köstinger said during the informal meeting of agriculture and fisheries ministers in Schloss Hof, Lower Austria.
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan also highlighted the importance of rural areas and the flexibility of the Common Agricultural Policy in future:
“The Presidency's paper accurately reflects the importance of agriculture and rural communities and the importance of a Common Agricultural Policy in supporting those communities. Agriculture and food production operate in a very dynamic environment and the CAP must be capable of supporting the sector and flexible enough to respond to changing circumstances and new challenges."
Common Agricultural Policy – a driver for the regions
The Common Agricultural Policy is, next to cohesion, the biggest common beneficiary of EU funds. Approximately 40% of the EU budget goes to this area. Farmers benefit not only from direct payments but also especially from the funds for rural development, the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy. “Measures to improve food quality, climate protection measures, marketing initiatives and many more Austrian projects are financed under rural development. Agriculture in Austria is more diverse than in almost any other country. The aim of yesterday’s excursion was to showcase exactly this aspect”, the Federal Minister added. Each year in Austria, 1.1 billion euros are paid from the Rural Development funds. In turn, these funds trigger important investments that bring vitality to the rural areas.
“The Common Agricultural Policy does not only benefit our farmers. Many regions in Europe would not be competitive without these investments. This added value for society has to be shifted back into focus”, Federal Minister Elisabeth Köstinger said at the press conference.
Strengthen the origin of food – develop further the indication of origin
The position of agriculture in the food value chain and the related indication of origin were important topics of discussion in the informal ministers meeting.
“Europeans want to know where their food comes from. Local products are becoming increasingly important to consumers. This trend must be factored into the Common Agricultural Policy reform. Food safety must go hand in hand with a working indication of origin”, said Köstinger.
In addition to food origin, consumers are placing ever greater importance on fair prices for our agricultural businesses.
“With its initiative to end unfair commercial practices, the European Commission has raised an important issue for discussion. We will do everything we can to achieve a political agreement on this dossier. Farmers must receive fair prices and, most of all, appreciation, in order for them to remain competitive in future”, Federal Minister Elisabeth Köstinger said in conclusion.
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