Meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture from the Weimar Triangle countries

Friday, 14 October 2016 r.

On the invitation of the Minister of Agriculture of France, Stephane Le Foll, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Krzysztof Jurgiel, and the Minister of Food and Agriculture of Germany, Christian Schmid, came to Le Mans.

Photo. (from the left): Minister of Germany, Christian Schmidt, Minister of Agriculture of France, Stephane Le Foll, and Minister Krzysztof Jurgiel

Photo. (from the left): Minister of Germany, Christian Schmidt, Minister of Agriculture of France, Stephane Le Foll, and Minister Krzysztof Jurgiel

The topics discussed during the meeting included e.g. the issues related to simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (the so-called omnibus), the market situation, the commercial negotiations, increasing the limit of the de minimis assistance, the African Swine Fever Virus, and the preparations for the COP22 climate conference and the associated French initiative 4/1000.

In the discussions concerning CAP, the Ministers expressed their need to continue the discussions about the proposals made by individual delegations at the technical level. According to Poland, the proposal to simplify the reformed CAP, which is currently being discussed by the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH), still requires supplementation with several important changes, in particular as regards enabling the member states to decide about the scope of the CAP mechanisms.

Also, in order to effectively implement the treaty-based objective of the Common Agricultural Policy, this being the stabilisation of the agricultural markets, we need to make decisions concerning market instruments today. The Ministers agreed that we can see a slight improvement on the milk market, yet the situation on this market must be under constant supervision. They also noted the concerns of some member states concerning the situation on the beef market. Minister Jurgiel stated that, as regards the cereals market, it is necessary to improve the customs protection of that market and to bring the intervention prices for cereals closer to the level of production costs, i.e. at least EUR 150/t, so that the intervention scheme is effective. For several seasons, the cereals sector has seen a gradual downturn due to a high supply of cereals on the global market, unfavourable price situation, and trading preferences awarded e.g. to Ukraine. Minister Krzysztof Jurgiel stated that he had filed a motion to the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development P. Hogan to increase the customs protection of the EU cereals market. COPA COGECA had also provided the European Commission with its concerns on the matter.

From the Polish perspective, the problem of too low amounts of fruit and vegetables allowed to be withdrawn from the market by Poland based on the proposed Commission provisions, which will launch a support mechanism for the horticulture sector in connection with the Russian embargo. There is a risk that the reduction of supply at such level will not lead to stabilisation on the fruit and vegetables markets, which used to be exported to the Russian Federation. Therefore, Poland will move to EC to increase this limit, which is supported by the Ministers of Agriculture from France and Germany.

While discussing the issues related to the trade negotiations, the Ministers emphasized the necessity to ensure the reciprocity rule as regards the food safety standards in the negotiated trade agreements. The Ministers agreed that they will draw up and submit a common position concerning various issues during the upcoming session of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council as regards the trade negotiations with MERCOSUR, in order to provide for an exchange of views on the matter.

As regards the African Swine Fever Virus, Minister K. Jurgiel emphasized that Poland undertakes extensive, multi-dimensional actions intended to halt the spreading of the virus to the remaining territory of Poland and the European Union, which is not easy, due to the closeness to Belarus and Ukraine, where ASFV is widely spread.  A comprehensive action plan provides for financial support spent e.g. to compensate the farmers and the plants for their losses due to the veterinarian restrictions implemented in the specified areas. During the meeting, the Ministers of Agriculture from France and Germany agreed that Poland should receive financial support from the European Commission to fight ASFV.

As part of the conclusions of the meeting, a joint statement of the Ministers of Agriculture of the Weimar Triangle countries was adopted, concerning the difficult situation in the pork sector as a consequence of the African Swine Fever.