The European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) heard the positions of the Ministry of Rural Affairs on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU at its sitting today.
Deputy Chairman of the Committee Jaak Madison, who chaired the sitting, said that Estonia requested equal conditions for competition to all agricultural producers of the European Union. “We consider it right to continue the agricultural policy of the EU as a common EU-level policy that would make the regulation more equal for all,” he said. “It is also important to continue working for the harmonisation of the levels of direct payments between Member States.”
In Madison’s opinion, it is necessary to increase the readiness of producers for preventing crises, and to continue with support measures that raise the export capacity of producers. He also emphasised that it was necessary to actively involve the representatives of the Estonian agricultural sector in shaping of further positions.
Minister of Rural Affairs Urmas Kruuse told the members of the Committee that negotiations on shaping the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU for the period 2020+ had started, and the active period of negotiations would be during the time Estonia held the Presidency of the Council of the EU. According to him, Estonia’s positions proceed from three objectives, which are food production, sustainable management of resources and diversification of rural life.
One of the problems raised at the sitting was the age structure of farmers. The statistics show that only six percent of the farmers on the EU are under 35 years old. On the other hand, 31 percent are older than 65. Thus it is necessary to continue dealing with the age structure of farmers. Kruuse explained that there were several support schemes for young people that favoured entering into and activities in the agricultural sector.
Members of the Committee also wanted to hear about the using of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Committee was told that Estonia’s attitude towards using GMOs in agriculture is science-based. The Committee also expressed interest in the crisis measures that could be applied in the Estonian agricultural sector, for example, in dairy and meat industry.
From 29 May to 1 June, the Minister of Rural Affairs will participate in the informal meeting of ministers of agriculture of the EU, which will focus on the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy.
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