Can you tell us about the tasks and responsabilites of the AGRI Committee which you preside?
As the name indicates, the AGRI committee is trying to find solutions for the challenges of European agriculture and the rural areas in Europe. The main task in this legislative term will be the completion of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the years 2021-2027, which we have already tried to shape to a large extent in the last legislative term. We will therefore be concerned with the question of how the subsidies are to be distributed among the two pillars of the CAP and how topics like climate protection, animal welfare or environmental programs will be included in the final text.
Another important issue is the reduction of pesticides in agriculture, towards a less pesticidal and yet economic and competitiv farming. The issue of bee guidance and the protection of biodiversity in Europe, its Member States and worldwide is also linked to this.
Last but not least, the committee is also increasingly concerned wit increasing deforestation in the world’s forests as well as the state of forests in Europe.
What are the adopted legislations today of which you monitor the implementation? Especially in the context of the quality of agricultural products and animal welfare?
I guess the implementation of the CAP and possible improvements is an ongoing process. Last term, we were working on the new rules for organic farming. The European Commisson is currently working on the implementing and delegated acts to make this legislative text enter into force from Hanuary 2021 onwards.
What are the major legislative proposals to come, that you are preparing, that will structure the CAP and what points of improvement will they bring to the agricultural and agri-food world?
As mentioned above, the most important file will be the CAP for the next Multiannual Financial Framework. We are still working on it, but as you could have seen from the Comisson’sprposal in June 2018, there seems to be a strong tendency towards more environmental measures in agricultural, towards more biodiversity, animal welfare and concerning the agri-food world: Our farmers produce food with very high quality and high production standards. There is a huge feeling of safety for consumers when it comes to European farming prodcuts. Our European gastronomy can rely on safe, healthy and delicious products for the lovely dishes they create for the pleasures of their clients.
How can the preservation and development of Europe’s gastronomic heritage serve European agriculture?
Gastronomy has an ambassador role as an intermediate piece in the food chain, between farmer and consumer. It plays a decisive role in deciding what it wants to offer the consumer. Gastronomy sharpens people’s awareness of the possibilities of the local supply of agricultural products.
It is therefore important to protect the existing gastronomy, not to lose sight of the local aspect of food and to make use of the wide range of quality products that European farmers produce in their stables and on their fields.