The acting Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has participated, in Brussels, in the Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the European Union.
During the Council, the Finnish Presidency of the European Union on duty has presented its priorities for action, as well as its work program in the field of agriculture and fisheries. Ministers discussed the environmental aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period 2021-2027.
In this context, the minister explained that Spain is in a situation of drought.
After a few days in Europe with record temperature records in June -which in Spain have reduced even more the forecasts of cereal harvest and have affected livestock-, others have followed in which torrential storms have had catastrophic effects in some areas of the peninsula.
This type of phenomena, stressed Planas, are increasingly frequent as a result of climate change, so that future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020 must have a greater climatic and environmental ambition, to help mitigate the effects of climate change .
A reinforced conditionality, eco-schemes and environmental commitments in direct payments and rural development, as well as a minimum percentage of environmental spending in the CAP as a whole can be effective elements for the transition towards an agriculture more compatible with the environment.
The Council of Ministers has also addressed the recent agreement reached between the European Union (EU) and Mercosur. The European Commission (EC) has reported on the main features of the agreement.
In his speech, the minister has asked the EC to evaluate the possible impacts on the different sectors. In case of negative effects, it has demanded that safeguard measures be arbitrated.
The minister has stressed, in statements to the press, that it is a modern and balanced agreement, which should allow opening new markets, and above all, consolidate a system of free trade based on rules. It is also an opportunity for many agrifood productions.
He added that it is the duty of the Government and the Ministry to help farmers and ranchers to face the new scenario with the right tools.
Planas has indicated that the process of ratification of the agreement will take up to 2 years and then there will be a period of 8 years for the entry into force of the new tariffs, so there is time for adaptation.
The Commission has presented during the Council of Ministers a report on the conclusions of the meetings held in the High Level Group for the sugar sector. According to the minister, these meetings have been a good opportunity to see that, although reduced, there are instruments in the Common Market Organization that allow producers organizations to plan production in case of market imbalances.
Likewise, it has defended the socio-economic future of beet-growing, to conserve employment and the rural environment.
African swine fever
Regarding African swine fever, Spain has argued that it is necessary to continue maintaining the alert and that together with the Commission all measures will be taken to contain, stop and eradicate the disease. However, the progress of the epizootic has been limited, thanks to the measures articulated between the EC and the Member States.
Regarding the situation of the olive oil market, the minister mentioned, in statements to the press, the high-level contacts maintained with the European Commission (EC) to address the self-regulation proposal presented by the cooperatives. In this initiative, the cooperatives have consulted the EC to be allowed temporary storage of olive oil in their facilities and voluntarily.
Planas has stated that the attitude of the Commission is positive towards this initiative, although the General Directorate of Agriculture of the EC must examine it with the Directorate General of Competition (of the EC). The minister has insisted that beyond that measure "it is necessary to expand the market" for Spanish olive oil. Spain produces almost two million tons while the world harvest is 4 million tons. "We need to structure the sector better, regulate it better and also expand the markets," according to Planas.