The aim of Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity strategy is to make EU i food systems a global standard for sustainability and to take urgent action to protect and restore Europe's biodiversity.
“The Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies will play a crucial role in the implementation of the European Green Deal i and the Recovery Plan for Europe. We need to assess the potential contribution of the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors to achieving the targets set in both strategies. But we also need to pay particular attention on the impact on those sectors. Our farmers, fishermen and aquaculture producers deserve fair transition, predictable conditions and adequate financial resources.”
Marija Vučković, minister for Agriculture of Croatia
In particular, ministers exchanged views about the main challenges and opportunities in achieving the strategies' targets. They also discussed the suggested additional actions by the Commission to make the implementation of the future common agricultural policy more efficient to help to achieve the ambition of the Green Deal. Finally, ministers presented their views on whether the new proposal for the EU budget 2021 - 2027, including the new European Recovery Instrument (“Next Generation EU”), is adequately designed to fulfill the ambition of the Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity strategies.
Ministers welcomed both strategies and the ambition to strengthen the role of farmers in the supply chain. They stressed that the ambitious goals of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies have to be matched by an ambitious budget. Many delegations expressed their concerns that insufficient funds may put at risk the financial viability of EU farmers and stressed that the proposed CAP budget amounts are not in line with both strategies' targets.
Ministers cautioned that the efforts to reach the goals to limit the use of pesticides and antibiotics may reduce EU farmers competitiveness in the global market. They also asked the Commission to take into account specific national circumstances.
In their discussion, ministers supported the ambition to introduce common food labelling rules. The importance of the forestry sector to reach the targets of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies was also highlighted.
Agri ministers agreed that the European Green Deal is the right direction, but stressed that there are significant differences in the initial positions of the Member States to be taken into account and that uniform approaches should be avoided. Ministers pointed out the need to define data collection and progress monitoring across sectors as well as the need to use uniform, accurate and comparable data. In their interventions, the ministers emphasized the importance of good communication with farmers whom from the greatest effort is expected. Finding a common solution in terms of financial support for the adaptation and transition of the entire food production sector, from primary production to final products, was also commonly mentioned. In addition to flexibility requirements and a longer period of adaptation, ministers also gave their views on the compatibility of the Common Agricultural Policy proposal with the requirements of the European Green Deal.