Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will affect lives and have a direct impact on European farmers, consumers and our societies in general, writes Spilios Livanos.
Spilios Livanos is the Greek Minister for Rural Development and Food.
This is a crucial time for agriculture ministers from the 27 EU Member States who are meeting in Brussels this week to work towards the completion of a very long, demanding and challenging process.
With optimism, I have no doubts that we will succeed in crossing the finish line and closing the gap on the outstanding issues concerning the interinstitutional negotiations of the new CAP reform 2023-2027.
At European level, we have decided to set an ambitious goal to become climate neutral by 2050. The European Green Deal is our path towards a better and sustainable future for our planet and our continent. Our mission, here and now, is to create healthier lives in all aspects for generations to come.
In this context, the CAP 2023-2027 and the 27 respective strategic plans are the key to achieving the common objectives of the Green Deal for Europe. These plans clearly define and present the strategy and specific interventions of each Member State to achieve the objectives of the CAP in accordance with the Green Deal. The so-called green architecture, and in particular the specific requirements and actions defined in Pillar I under the title eco-schemes, are essential in this regard.
However, although we all share the importance of environmental protection and the consequences of climate change on the agricultural sector, for strategic plans and their interventions to work in practice, they must be implemented. The responsibility of each Member State to adapt will ensure the prosperity of our farmers by making their daily work easier.
Furthermore, while my colleagues in the Council and I are determined to achieve this European goal, it is clear that there is no room for institutional power games and political opportunism in this process.
Protecting the environment, tackling climate change and the well-being of our farmers and consumers is neither a backyard nor an exclusive step for anyone. There is no room for political “shades” of blue, green or red. We must all, in the service of our citizens, whatever our political and ideological convictions, rise up and do our best.
This is also the case when it comes to exceptional weather events such as frosts that occurred in France, Greece and Italy, after a few weeks of mild weather, during the last week of March and April 1. While the assessments are not yet finalized, preliminary estimates show unprecedented damage in the viticulture, fruit and vegetable sectors.
With my French and Italian colleagues, we have taken the initiative to officially inform the European Commission and raise the issue at this Council meeting. We believe that the time has come for the European Union to show tangible solidarity, to provide substantial financial assistance, to activate all available measures and to support the agricultural sector and farmers. Primary producers have already taken a heavy toll during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the food supply of European citizens during these difficult times.
While these and other similar events directly linked to climate change are expected to challenge the agricultural sector more often and more intensely in the near future, we must act urgently.
At 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 the citizens of Europe, the citizens of our countries, our farmers and, most importantly, in our case, to encourage the development of more nutritious and respectful food products. environment, in tune with the changing expectations of the global community.