The presidency presented its work programme and priorities in the areas of agriculture and fisheries, the focus of which will be to ensure food security and the vitality of rural areas.
In the field of agriculture, the main priorities of the Austrian Presidency will be to make as much progress as possible in the negotiation of the proposal on the modernisation and simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020, and on improving the position of agricultural producers in the context of the Commission’s proposal on unfair trade practices. Other priorities include: plant health, the vegetable protein strategy, bio-economy, veterinary and phytosanitary matters, as well as forestry.
Concerning fisheries the presidency will lead the negotiations on 2019 catch limits in the most important sea basins, and continue the work on the proposal on the multi-annual plans on Western Mediterranean Sea and Western Waters, on the proposed amendment of the official controls regulation and the proposal for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund after 2020.
Post 2020 CAP reform package
"Farmers should be busy with farming, not with filling in paper work or interpreting cumbersome rules. We would like the future CAP to be user friendly and easily accessible to all farmers, whatever the size of their farms", said Juliane Bogner-Strauss, Austrian federal minister for women, families and youth and president of the Council. She replaced the Austrian federal minister of sustainability and tourism Elisabeth Köstinger, who will return in autumn from her maternity leave.
The Council had an exchange of views on the simplification and subsidiarity elements contained in the Commission proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy after 2020. Discussions began with a Commission presentation highlighting the progress which the reform proposals make towards putting member states and beneficiaries' needs and specificities at the heart of the CAP. During the debate ministers shared concrete ideas on how to make life easier for farmers and national authorities.
In this context the Council also had the opportunity to be briefed on the issue of conditionality of CAP payments and the requests from some member states that those rules which are intended to protect the environment and biodiversity and fight against climate change should also be simplified in the future.
Other topics on the agenda
Ministers were also informed about:
drought in Poland,
the latest developments in the early process of selecting a EU single candidate for FAO elections in 2019,
African swine fever.