V4 agriculture ministers met in Prague

pgThe future of the Common Agricultural Policy and forestry issues were the main topics of the meeting of the agriculture ministers of the Visegrad Cooperation in Prague, enlarged with Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania, and which was attended by the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. At the meeting, Zsolt Feldman, Secretary of State for Agriculture, stressed that the support system, which has been unpredictably low, should not be replaced by a system that is uncertain and difficult to implement.

He underlined that the changes in the current plans are such that, if implemented, at the current speed of EU legislation, both farmers and the Member States should be given sufficient lead time, up to a transitional period of up to two years. This would be sufficient to establish national regulations and to adopt a strategic plan for the aid scheme in Brussels.

At the Prague meeting, ministers signed a statement calling on the relevant European political institutions to take the necessary steps to protect European forests. The use of innovative approaches, appropriate support, and modernization of forest management, administrative simplification or even strengthening of cooperation between the Member States all contribute to sustainable European forestry.

Zsolt Feldman emphasized that farmers should be made interested in participating in forest management, which is the most effective way to increase forest area. A good example of this is the Hungarian decision, through which the amount of support available for afforestation and the amount of support intended for farmers to compensate for the loss of agricultural land due to planting have been substantially increased.