K. Gerhards, the Minister, will sign the declaration on “Bioeast” initiative and voice Latvian position on a dual quality of food at the international Ministerial meeting
On Thursday, May 9, Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture, will participate at the meeting of Ministers for Agriculture of Visegrad States, Baltic States, Balkan States and France: “Dynamic Visegrad for Europe”, that will take place in Slovakia, the city of Stara Lesna. Ministerial discussions will be held in two sessions and the Latvian position will be voiced on the “Bioeast” initiative and dual quality of food. At the Ministerial meeting, K.Gerhards will sign the joint declaration of Ministers for Agriculture of Visegrad States on the “Bioeast” initiative.
At the sessions, Latvian interests will be represented in the initiative of the Central and East Europe for knowledge-based agriculture, aquaculture and forestry in bioeconomics - “Bioeast”. Latvian position will also be expressed there, as well as the current proposals from the European Commission and further activities, regarding the dual quality of food, as well as the need to develop a joint EU-level methodology for foods, will be discussed. Whereas, during informal negotiations Latvia will voice its position to the EU Ministers for Agriculture on the need to adjust direct payments, the rural development funding, on common market organization and the environmental and climate issues.
It is planned that delegations from 12 States will participate at the Ministerial meeting, including from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia as well as France has been invited to this meeting.
An informal meeting has also been envisaged with Gabriela Metchnu, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development of Slovakia, as well as with Ministers of other States and heads of delegations to discuss the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and budget, Technical Assistance envelope as well as other topical issues in the sector of agriculture.
Additional information on “Bioeast” initiative:
Latvia is the first of the Central and East European EU States (EU-13), which has approved the National Strategy of Bioeconomics – 2030.
The initiative aims at facilitating activities of EU-13 States in the area of science, using their own potential and the opportunities, offered by EU, improving implementation of scientific achievements and knowledge sharing in order to get involved in the European research and innovation programs, to facilitate bioeconomics, to set up a macro-regional network among Member States, facilitate a better experience sharing and promoting information on benefits of bioeconomics.
On May 8-9, 2019, the Minsters of the involved States will come together in Slovakia to express the needs of the Central and East European States and to sign a declaration on the further role of the “Bioeast” initiative, which is an important instrument in developing the European partnership in the area of a sustainable productivity and agri-ecological intensification.
Additional information on the dual quality of food:
Already in 2017, the Minister for Agriculture of Slovakia addressed COM on the dual quality of foods and at the same time, presented to the EU Council of Ministers for Agriculture and Fishery, the comparative test results on food, acquired in Slovakia, Hungary and other EU States. This issue has already been addressed at the high-level meetings of Visegrad group, in 2017 at the meetings in Poland and Hungary.
In June 2017, at the high-level forum, dedicated to a better operation of food supply chain, an agreement has been achieved that the COM Common Research Center will develop a coordinated testing methodology.
In October, 2017, in Bratislava, at the high-level meeting, the agreement has been achieved that all the EU consumers are equal.
On September 13, 2018, it was determined that assessment of the dual quality products will be carried out at several stages and the first stage will be comparing of food labeling information.
The first testing results, upon verifying labeling, show non-conformities. Negotiations have been commenced with the industry to clarify the reasons. Latvia, currently, is awaiting further information and joint recommendations to continue the work already commenced.
Information prepared: Santa Vaļuma
Adviser to the Minister