Ministers for Agriculture of the Baltic States and Poland have signed a joint cooperation declaration
On September 5, 2019, Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister for Agriculture, in Warsaw, met Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, the Polish Minister for Agriculture and Rural development, Mart Jarvik, the Estonian Minister for Rural Affairs and Andrius Palionis, the Lithuanian Minister for Agriculture. At the meeting, the Ministers discussed positions of States, the joint position and an opinion on the reform and its funding after 2020 of the European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In the conclusion, the joint cooperation declaration has been signed to ensure that joint efforts are invested in working out of equal conditions for EU support payments and competition for all the Member States as well as providing support to farmers to alleviate BREXIT impact.
During the discussions on the EU support payments in agriculture, Kaspars Gerhards, the Minister, pointed out that more and more new attainable targets are being set in EU, including also the environmental and climate targets, applicable to agricultural activities: “Implementation of new targets require the funding, which already now is not sufficient for Latvia and also for Baltic States, besides if we consider the amount of support in the profile of other EU Member States then within 15 years, one of the lowest level support was allocated for Latvian farmers, that is three times less than for other EU Member States. Secondly, if new targets are being set then this support must be adjusted accordingly”.
K.Gerhards, the Minister, also drew attention to the fact that the existing system of direct payments does not ensure equal competition conditions for all the EU Member States: “A large part of Member States receives very generous direct payments -100% and even up to 209% of the EU average indicator. However, the European Commission is planning to allocate the support for Latvia only at the level of 77%. Beyond doubt, such support cannot be sufficient - it is neither satisfying the current needs of farmers nor provides a possibility for a full-fledged implementation of the new targets set by EU, which add to those currently in force.”
Moreover, during the discussion, K.Gerhards, the Minister, highlighted an essential socio-economic impact on rural territories, exerted by small-scale farms – employment opportunities are ensured, rural territories are maintained as well as social inclusion is also ensured. Thus, it is important to continue supporting small-scale producing farmers in order to facilitate production of more novel and diverse products and their placing on the market. To achieve this objective, the Ministry of Agriculture has prepared a new project proposal for the government, to lay down the available support for small-scale producing farmers up to EUR 1250.
The joint declaration, signed by four States, expresses the joint position of these States and the opinion on the EU multiannual budget and CAP reform as follows:
• The EU CAP budget after 2020 must not be cut down as compared with the period 2014 – 2020 to finance other initiatives of the new policy;
• The funding for rural development must be planned at least at the level of the period 2014 – 2020;
• The adjustment of EU direct payments must be ensured the next financial period so that equal competition conditions on the EU Single market are ensured for farmers of all the EU Member States;
• The European Commission must provide for a mechanism and a possible financial aid to the sectors of agriculture in Member States, which could suffer from a negative impact of the possible no-deal Brexit process.
Information prepared: Santa Vaļuma
Adviser to the Minister