On June 4 2019, was held the informal meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Member States of the European Union, organized in the context of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The event took place at the Parliament Palace in Bucharest and was hosted and chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Petre Daea.
The informal meeting was attended by ministers of agriculture and fisheries from the EU Member States, Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Jerzy Plewa, Director General of the European Commission, Angel Boixareu Carrera, General Director of the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, Pesonen Pekka Juhana, Secretary General of Copa Cogeca, Paolo De Castro, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.
The agenda included extremely relevant and updated topics for the Member States, in the context of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP): agricultural research, innovation and bioeconomy – creating synergies – and key instrument for the rural development. The informal meeting also held exchanges of views on these major themes as well as a briefing from the Presidency on the stage of preparation of the EU single candidate for the position of Director-General of the FAO. Thus, the European Union has proposed a unique candidacy, that of Ms. Catherine Geslain Lanéelle, being the first female candidate for this job since the founding of the FAO.
In the opening of the debate, minister Petre Daea welcomed the presence of the distinguished guests, declaring himself honored to host in Bucharest in a special location the informal Council for Agriculture. The President of the Council emphasized the need for bringing back in discussion the agricultural research and bio-economy, which are catalysts for agriculture, in the light of the future reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Agricultural research and bioeconomy are key priorities to allow farmers in EU countries comply with higher standards imposed by the CAP, especially on environment and climate.
Petre Daea highlighted the European Union’s efforts to support research and innovation materialized as follows: the current research framework program Horizon 2020, rural development policy and the long-term strategy “A strategic approach to agricultural research and innovation in the EU“, completed by the Commission in July 2016.
The discussions have underlined the relevance of sound policies and appropriate tools to ensure that farmers have the knowledge and results of these researches.
It was also restated the need that updating in the new CAP gives greater relevance to the building of a functioning system of agricultural knowledge and innovation (AKIS), to the cooperation and integration of the primary sector in the bioeconomic value chains to ensure sustainable development.
The unanimous idea was that agricultural research must play a more important role in developing solutions for a future that complies with the European objectives and with those of sustainable development, in line with local peculiarities.
The Minister also mentioned the actions taken by the European Commission in the field of bio-economy: updating the strategy “A sustainable bioeconomy for Europe – Strengthening the connection between economy, society and the environment” in October 2018, focusing on sustainability and circularity concepts for the purpose of promoting renewal of industrial sectors, upgrade primary production systems, protect the environment and improve biodiversity.
In December 2018, during the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, ministers exchanged views on this issue, focusing on how to exploit the potential of bio-economy and boost economic growth. Under the Presidency of Romania, the Council has reviewed the subject of bioeconomy, based on three aspects proposed by our country aimed at the exchange of best practices, the bio-economy and the future CAP, the bio-economy in Horizon Europe.
The Romanian Presidency identified bioeconomy as one of its major priorities, thus organizing the High Level Conference on Agricultural Research – the basis for the development of European agriculture, rural areas and bioeconomy, which took place in Bucharest on April 5, 2019. This conference had multiple ambitious objectives such as: identifying solutions to allow for a broad integration of agriculture in the bio-economy, the circular economy and wider participation of Eastern European countries in the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, prioritization in agricultural research to meet the new bio-economy and circular economy requirements.
Within the Council, ministers shared views on how to ensure a better policy orientation, in order to make sustainable a new model of agricultural business, especially in the bio-economy sector, to lead farmers to innovation and research.