Assembly of European Horticultural Regions

AGRI committee of the European Parliament (15-16 march 2021)

The AGRI committee of the European Parliament met on 15 and 16 March 2021 to discuss topics related to the reform of the CAP, with professional speakers from the agricultural sector, officials from the European Commission (as well as Commissioner Sefcovic), and Grégory Besson-Moreau, deputy for La République en Marche in the French National Assembly.

Intervention of Mr. Besson-Moreau:

The meeting of March 15 first saw the intervention of Mr. Besson-Moreau, who believes that each Member State should finance certain price changes vis-à-vis its consumers, and that this should not be part of the CAP operations. He also emphasized the desire of consumers to pay a “fair price”, and to this end, proposes greater use of cost of production indicators. He also asserted that large distributors should remain autonomous, no consolidation of large distributors (which has happened in the past).

 

Unfair Commercial Practices Directive:

Mr. Oliver Sitar (AGRI G1) then gave an update on the situation of Directive 2019/633 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 17, 2019 (on unfair commercial practices in business-to-business relations). The directive provides for the first time in Europe the provision of a common framework of rules on unfair practices, and guarantees minimum protections in all member states for farmers; its transposition is scheduled for May 1.

The priority will be to ensure proper transposition and consistent implementation in the Member States. To follow up on points raised by MEPs on the monopolization of the market, Mr. Sitar clarified that large processors (“A-grade processors”) are not protected by this directive, since the Commission considers them capable of defend yourself independently.

 

Trilogues:

Mr Daniel Buda, who chaired this meeting, took stock of the current trilogues, which currently provide for the choice between two compromises proposed by Parliament and Council. In this regard, the Parliament's Rapporteur (Mr Peter Jahr) expressed his confidence in the possibility of reaching a final compromise. He referred to the consensus on indicators for biannual performance, but said the percentage of convergence is still not enough. In conclusion, the shadow rapporteurs from each parliamentary group presented their position.

 

Use of technology in agriculture:

The March 16 session focused on a major use of technology in agriculture (this in the context of ecological transition).

The first panel on this subject saw the interventions of Kristen Woznitsa (dairy farmer in Germany) and Yvonne Colomer (from the Triptolemos Foundation in Spain). Kristen Rosenow (DG AGRI B2) completed the interventions, confirming, at an empirical level, the still insufficient use of technology in agriculture. In order to correct this phenomenon, Ms. Rosenow said that the European Commission has doubled the envelope for rural areas and silviculture. He then had an exchange with the MEPs present.

The second panel saw the interventions of Mr Marko Turpeinen from the University of Aalto in Finland, who addressed the issue of the use of data in agriculture and the need to integrate a coherent strategy in the European context.

Mr. Paolo Mantovi from Centro Richerche Produzioni Animali (Emilia-Romagna) then invited for reflection on the possibility of creating projects that could serve agricultural functions that are both educational, social, environmental, using the specific example of the project “ Parco Commestibile ”from Reggio Emilia.

This second panel concluded with the intervention of Doris Marquardt (DG AGRI B2), who confirmed the availability of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) to invest in agricultural technologies. She also reiterated the explicit promotion of technological investments in the next CAP, but also recalled that there is no obligation for farmers to share their data.

After the panels, Commissioner Sefcovic intervened with the AGRI commission to emphasize the role of agriculture in the strategic foresight of the European Commission, a key component of which will be agroecology in the agri-food sector, and to this regard promised an in-depth analysis to assess Europe's strategic autonomy by 2040. This was followed by an exchange with MEPs.

 

Intervention by Michael Scannell on the review of agricultural product marketing standards:

Finally, the session ended with a presentation by Mr. Michael Scannell, Deputy Director of DG AGRI, on the revision of the marketing standards for agricultural products. He also started an exchange with MEPs.

Following these interventions, Mr. Scannell invited to consult the impact study related to this theme. On the issue of standards, eliminating or extending them, both remain possible as courses of action (“all options remain on the table”), but a revision, whatever it may be, will not take place immediately. closed given the involvement of several programs / initiatives.

On the remark of Mr Buda during the intervention of Commissioner Sefcovic, Mr Scannell confirmed that a dual market where imported products do not meet European standards is unthinkable. However, he recalled that it is not always easy to compare the standards of third countries with those of the European Union. On the issue of labeling (from Ms. Hazekamp) he reiterated that there is no question of providing misleading information to the consumer.

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