Priorities of the Slovenian Presidency & Organic Plan

Council of Agriculture Ministers Priorities of the Slovenian Presidency & Organic Plan


The first Agriculture and Fisheries Council under the Slovenian Presidency held in Brussels was chaired by Slovenian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Joze Podgorsek. He presented to his colleagues the working programme of the next six months and discussed the Council conclusions on the action plan for organic agriculture.

As an A Item on the agenda, the Ministers voted and approved the Brexit adjustment reserve, after negotiations with the European Parliament have been held. Priorities of the Presidency Podgoresk listed to the Member States delegations the political dossiers that he intends to follow under his mandate. Food safety and affordability, vibrant rural areas, finalisation of the CAP technical details, forestry, animal health and plant health welfare will be the main topics of debate and compromise in the next semester. In more detail, the legislative files to be discussed and, eventually, approved by the Council Presidency will be focusing on the recovery and the strategic autonomy of the EU, underpinned by the green and digital transition:

CAP conclusion of the technical details and formally adoption of the three regulations by the end of July.

Rural Areas: boost in digitalisation and modernisation of the infrastructures, role of women, improved cooperation between urban and rural areas.

Farmers’ position in the value chain to be improved.

Labelling of origins, notably in the honey blends.

• Global approach for sustainable food system changes (UN Global Summit on Food System).

Organic action plan. • Forestry: discussion on the role of forests in achieving the goals of the Green Deal (Fit for 55, Biodiversity and F2F); address illegal logging and trade in timber.

Food safety and security: animal welfare, plant health; consumers to have access to safe food: traceability, origin labelling.

The agenda of the ministerial meetings is shown in the following image:

Adoption of the conclusions of the Presidency on the Organic Action Plan

The Action Plan on Organic Agriculture was already discussed during the May Council session, but in that occasion, Ministers could not agree. Today’s discussion touched on the more political side of the conclusions. Member States’ delegation expressed their general support to the Council conclusions, calling it a balanced paper that takes into account the priorities of Member States. General consent was also shown on the points dealing with the public procurement of organic food, the drafting of national plans for the organic sector, and the fact of stimulating the demand and not only the supply.

A vast majority of delegations stated that the different starting points of Member States should be taken into account, therefore, ministers welcomed and appreciated the point in the conclusions’ document referring to this aspect.

The delegations of NL, EE, FI, HU, FR, BE, DK particularly stressed the importance of Research and Innovation in the Organic agriculture sector in order to succeed to attend the targets in the F2F.

PT, EE, CZ, HU, pointed out that more flexibility would have been appreciated, hoping that the Commission will allow it during the evaluation of the Strategic Plans.

EL, LV, CY, noted that the targets for organic agriculture set in the Green Deal and in the Council conclusions are too ambitious and, considering the different starting points of MS, more financial support is needed.

ES: even if the Spanish agriculture in this field represents 10% of the national agri areas, there are still obstacles to face: for instance the organic production of citrous, fruit and vegetables, and wines can be improved by a lot. Organic seeds, organic plant waste, phytosanitary situation also represents some of the obstacles. The Minister stressed the importance to raise the demand and increase awareness of consumers of the benefits of organic (environmentally, socially, economically).

DK: pointed that a coherent action plan should ensure market access for developing countries as well as the promotion of the EU organic in the world market (together with SK and BG).

NL reminded that there are other forms of sustainable agriculture, and they deserve attention as well.

SK added that they would appreciate if the Commission would give general guidelines on the drafting of national action plans for the organic sector.

PT: underlined that organic proteins should be supported for animal feed and adjust the regulation for organic animal medicines.

FI: mentioned the role of the food industry throughout the chain and the fact that it should be included more in the plans.

CZ: noticed that monitoring tools at the national level should be improved.

CY and HR delegation were concerned about the possible increase of the administrative burden.