Back Videoconference of the V4 Parliamentary Committees on Agriculture and Rural Development on 14 May, 2021
A videoconference of the Committees on Agriculture and Rural Development of the Parliaments of the Visegrád Group was held on 14 May 2021 by the Polish Presidency of the Visegrád Cooperation in office from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021, by the invitation of Robert Telus, the Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the Polish Sejm. At the virtual meeting, each parliamentary delegation was headed by the respective Committee Chair with the exception of the Czech Chamber of Deputies, represented by the Vice-Chair of its Committee.
Participants discussed the following topics at the meeting: perspectives of the EU common agricultural policy (CAP) for 2023-2027, the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector; combating infectious diseases in animals; the BIOEAST initiative (an initiative in Central and Eastern Europe for knowledge-based agriculture, aquaculture and forestry in the bioeconomy).
The Hungarian National Assembly was represented by Sándor Font, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, and György Czerván, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture. The videoconference was opened by Ryszard Terlecki, Deputy Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, highlighting that there are important ongoing negotiations in the EU on the future of the common agricultural policy, which is highly relevant for Visegrád countries. European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski was also in attendance, stressing that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, food safety in Europe was maintained, transport processes were ensured and export increased. He stated that, as the Commissioner responsible for the future of CAP, he is tasked with bringing reform negotiations to a close and ensuring fairness and transparency.
Grzegorz Puda, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development in Poland, pointed out that we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Visegrád Group, which is a good example for effective regional cooperation in agriculture. He stressed that Visegrád countries need to make efforts to jointly promote their common interests in the common agricultural policy. He considered that the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of agriculture in guaranteeing food safety and the functioning of the food supply chain.
Sándor Font praised the work done by the Polish V4 Presidency, with particular regard to V4 common positions, sharing epidemiological information and V4+ cooperation with external partners. He added that the upcoming Hungarian V4 Presidency aims to increase V4’s dynamism and visibility in diplomatic relations that start to resume after the successful management of the pandemic, building on the achievements of the Polish Presidency. He carried on by pointing out that Hungary’s fundamental objective would be to ensure that the CAP continues to guarantee income security for farmers after 2023 and investments made through rural development funds promote the development of this sector and improve its competitiveness.
György Czerván highlighted that small, medium-sized and family enterprises mostly producing high-quality or specialty products in the agricultural sector were faced with challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that the “water management” component of Hungary’s recovery and resilience plan, submitted to the European Commission on 12 May 2021 is aimed at protecting surface and groundwaters in Hungary, overhauling water management and increasing its competitiveness and income-generation potential as well as countering the negative effects of climate change on agricultural production.
At the end of the event the participants adopted a joint final document highlighting the need for producers to remain the main beneficiaries of funds disbursed from the CAP. The Committee Chairs also endorsed the Farm to Fork Strategy’s objectives in creating a fair, healthy and eco-friendly food system. They pointed out the impact of COVID-19 on the agri food industry and the rural population, while also stressing the importance of subsidies. Their conclusions also underline that the prevention of animal diseases should not be limited to national measures.