Polish affairs discussed during the EU Council of Ministers

Tuesday, 7 March 2017 r.

On 6 March, Minister Krzysztof Jurgiel participated in the meeting of the Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the European Union.

Photo. Minister Krzysztof Jurgiel talking with Jerzy Plewa, Director-General of the Directorate-General of the European Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development

Photo. Minister Krzysztof Jurgiel talking with Jerzy Plewa, Director-General of the Directorate-General of the European Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development

The EU Council of Ministers began a formal discussion on the future of the CAP after 2020. It should be recalled that on 2 February the European Commission started a public consultation, which will be ended with a summary conference in July, then in November 2017 the Commission shall prepare a proposal on the common agricultural policy after 2020 that will be a basis for legal acts for the new financial perspective.

During the debate, Minister Jurgiel stressed that for Poland the priority was to align direct payments so that the agricultural producers had equal conditions of competition. At the same time, he pointed to the formulated Treaty objectives of the common agricultural policy and a need to assess their implementation.

The second, still up-to-date task of the CAP is to strengthen the cohesion within the EU, in economic, social and political terms. The Common Agricultural Policy should reduce the differences in the levels of the agricultural and rural development – both among the regions and the Member States. A key issue for Poland is to provide the appropriate, fully Community budget for this policy. The appropriate CAP budget is a prerequisite for implementing the priorities indicated by the Presidency.

Minister Jurgiel presented the Polish proposal to the EC on intervention in the apple market. The situation in this market in Poland is still difficult. Poland again requested the EC to increase the allocated amount of support for the recall of apples to the amount from the previous year 2015/2016. The Polish request was supported by other Member States including: France, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus. In response to the Polish request, the Commission announced the extension of the support instruments to the new trading period i.e. since July 2017.

Poland, together with a group of countries (12 EU Member States) applied to the Commission for clarifying the objections made by the Commission as to the implementation of coupled payments. In the document it was stated that based on controls as part of the procedures checking the implementation of these payments in the years 2015-2016, the European Commission questions the validity of introduced payments, for which financial corrections may be imposed. The system of voluntary coupled support should be more flexible. The document was also supported, in addition to the authors, by Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary, Belgium and Slovakia.

The Commission appealed for the scrupulous provision of information, requested by the auditors during the proceedings and justifying the decisions made.

Upon request of Slovakia and Hungary, the Ministers also discussed the issue of the dual quality of food in the European market. Poland stressed that the food quality and safety play an important role in protecting the health and guaranteeing well-being of consumers throughout the European Union. According to Poland, the current system of food safety and quality in the EU fulfills its tasks, and food producers play an important role in this process. The studies carried out by Slovakia show that some irregularities might take place. The Commission, according to Poland, should examine such cases in accordance with the EP resolution from 2013.