EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council
Preserving soil fertility and productivity, ensuring a fair income for farmers, ensuring that sustainably produced food is available at affordable prices – these are some of the things agreed by the EU ministers of agriculture at a Council meeting chaired by Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner. They also agreed on catch quotas for the Baltic Sea.
With the Farm to Fork Strategy, Europe affirms its commitment to a sustainable and economically viable agriculture and food sector, that trusts in innovation and digital technology. The EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council adopted pertinent Conclusions at a meeting on Tuesday, chaired by Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner.
The Farm to Fork Strategy is also to help the EU become climate neutral by 2050. It provides the European Commission with a guidelines for its future work – at national, European and global level in numerous policy fields.
The European Commission presented the Farm to Fork Strategy in May. It is a contribution to putting in place a sustainable food system as part of the European Green Deal. For the first time ever, the EU considers the entire food system – from the producer to the consumers.
Picking up on important German impetus
The strategy covers a total of 27 measures, some of them initiatives that Germany has already launched. They include an EU-wide standardised nutrition labelling system, the animal welfare label and reducing food waste.
"Germany attached a great deal of importance to ensuring that the measures can be realised for European farmers," stressed Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner. The Commission has pledged to provide studies of the anticipated consequences. The new requirements must go hand in hand with assistance and must not jeopardise the competitiveness of the European agriculture and food sector, she added. All interlinkages and conflicting objectives must be considered – from the farmer to the consumer.
Main points laid out in the conclusions
- Food security: European citizens must have access to an adequate and diverse supply of high-quality, nutritious, safe and sustainably produced food at affordable prices.
- A fair income for primary producers is very important for the successful transition to a sustainable food system.
- Research and innovation such as green and digital innovation and biotechnology are important ways of realising sustainable food systems. They must be safe for human health and for the environment.
- Soil fertility and agricultural productivity must be preserved and restored.
- The reformulation of food is in line with guidelines for healthy, sustainable food, for instance with regard to salt, sugar and saturated fatty acids.
- The labelling of food, marketing methods, pricing, ease of access, nutrition quality, food education and information campaigns play an important part in promoting healthy and sustainable food.
Agreement on Baltic Sea catch quotas for 2021
The fish stock situation in the Baltic remains difficult. The causes are many and varied. They include climate change, eutrophication, maritime waste and industrial pollution. This is reflected in the agreements reached on quotas.
The Federal Agriculture Minister stressed that a good balance had been found, that will provide for sustainable management of fish stocks. Where fishing is no longer possible in the long term because of the poor state of fish stocks, assistance will be provided for fishers.