Debate of the Visegrad Group

Thursday, 21 September 2017 r.

On 20-21 September 2017, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Krzysztof Jurgiel participated in the meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture of the Visegrad Group countries plus Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia (GV4+4).

Photo. Signing of the Joint Declaration (photo by the Ministry of Agriculture of Hungary)

Photo. Signing of the Joint Declaration (photo by the Ministry of Agriculture of Hungary)

The debate was held in Visegrad, as part of the Hungarian Presidency which was started this July.

On the first day of the visit, Minister K. Jurgiel participated in the official opening and visiting of the 78th National Exhibition of Agriculture and Food OMÉK, which is one of the biggest exhibition events of the agri-food industry in Hungary.

During the debate, the Ministers discussed the challenges of global agriculture and food industry, the problem of the dual quality of food, the issue of renewable energy post-2020 as well as the Hungarian BIOEAST initiative regarding cooperation of Central and European Europe for agriculture, aquaculture and forestry in the bioeconomy.

With regard to the challenges facing European agriculture the delegations unanimously pointed to the increasing impact of the global market on the EU agricultural sector, associated with the progressive process of liberalisation of economic relations and ongoing negotiations of free trade agreements as well as multilateral negotiations within the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The Ministers stressed that the key issue was the common opinion of the Central and Eastern European countries, so that the interests of our region were properly taken into account in decisions on the shape of EU policies and relationships with trading partners.

In the conclusions of the discussion on the future of the biofuels sector, the Joint Declaration on the directive on renewable energy post-2020 was adopted, summarising the main postulates of the countries of our region in relation to the proposals currently proceeded in the EU forum aimed at the gradual withdrawal of support for the production of first generation biocomponents i.e. those produced from food or feed raw materials. The Ministers of Agriculture appealed to the European Commission for another comprehensive analysis of those issues and for considering retaining the current requirements related to using crops intended for food and feed purposes in the production of biofuels.

The Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrad Group thanked Poland for having initiated stronger cooperation for increasing participation of the research facilities of the EU-13 countries in the Horizon 2020 programme. Stressing the importance of research, innovation and knowledge-based development, the Ministers declared their willingness to continue and improve cooperation in this regard. As an expression of the will to take further joint actions, they signed the Joint Declaration on BIOEAST, i.e. the Central and Eastern European Initiative for knowledge-based agriculture, aquaculture and forestry in the bioeconomy.