Representatives of the V4 Parliaments’ Agricultural Committees convened in Budapest on 14-15th February 2018. Participants reviewed two issues of outstanding significance – the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 and issues related to double standards in food quality and unfair commercial practices towards the consumers.
The meeting was attended by the host Chairman Sándor Font and by Karel Kratochvíle, member of the Czech Senate Committee on National Economy, Agriculture and Transport, Jaroslav Faltýnek, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture of the Czech Chamber of Deputies, Jarosław Sachajko, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the Polish Sejm, Jerzy Chróścikowski, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the Polish Senate, as well as Mikuláš Krajkovič, Deputy-chairman of the Agriculture and Environmental Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic. György Czerván State Secretary for Agricultural Economy and Lajos Bognár the Deputy State Secretary for Food Chain Supervision participated at the meeting as invited speakers.
Sándor Font emphasized the significance of CAP, which looks back on a history of more than 50 years with respect to its role in the safe supply of food and the stability of the common agricultural market. He alluded to the Communication of the European Commission on the Future of Food and Farming, some elements of which the V4 countries agree with. They agree that the system of direct payments should remain an essential element of the CAP and that the two-pillar structure of the CAP needs to be preserved. With respect to the future objectives of CAP, he remarked that the V4 countries were opposed to extending the scope of CAP to include the management of issues unrelated to agriculture, such as migration. Participants of the meeting declared their support for the efforts of the European Commission to simplify and modernize CAP further but considered it important that farmers should continue to be the recipients of the subsidies. They also agreed that the European Union would need a Common Agricultural Policy that offers an efficient answer to managing diverse crisis situations, one that enables the European agricultural sector and the food industry to continue to remain a competitive actor. They emphasized that the administrative burden on farmers and national authorities needs to be decreased. György Czerván underlined: wide cooperation will be needed to develop the post-2020 framework and the increasing joint representation of V4interests may get a special role in this. The participants of the meeting were unanimous in rejecting any discrimination of market actors within the Union. Lajos Bognár highlighted: there cannot be second class consumers in the Europe of equals, while there are several precedents in member states of manufacturers and vendors selling inferior quality food on the Central- and Eastern-European markets. They emphasized that they considered it necessary to introduce EU-level measures in order to put an end to unfair commercial practices vis-á-vis the consumers. In this respect they welcomed the fact that the European Commission continued to deal with this issue at a high level thanks to the concerted action of the Visegrad countries. They welcomed the Commission guidelines on the application of EU food and consumer laws to dual quality products enabling member states to address this issue more efficiently. Participants of the Budapest meeting welcomed the development by the Joint Research Centre of a protocol about harmonized sampling and testing methodologies.
At the end of their meeting, heads of delegations signed a closing document and informed members of the press about their deliberations.