On the occasion of the Informal Council of European agriculture ministers held in the Slovenian town of Brdo pri Kranju, Copa and Cogeca Presidents had the opportunity to share their vision for the future of rural areas as well as some of the key priorities for the sector with the Presidency. These included the importance of a swift conclusion of the CAP reform process and the role and impact of Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
The Presidents took the opportunity to address the EU long-term vision for rural areas and the outcome of its public consultation, which clearly showed that the role and importance of rural areas is under-appreciated and insufficiently supported. Rural areas and landscapes are shaped by farming, which equally ensures the preservation of natural resources and creates and maintains a unique countryside for the benefit of all. The key role played by women and young farmers was also central in the discussions.
"There was a clear consensus, shared by all agriculture ministers and the agriculture commissioner present at this informal council meeting. We must not allow the gap to widen between rural and urban areas. To preserve the dynamism of our territories, we need above all consistency, especially at European level. Consistency between ambitions and means, whether it be the EU recovery plan, the CAP, the cohesion funds, the Green Deal and its strategies, the support to investment and installation and, last but not least, our trade policy" stressed Copa President Christiane Lambert.
Cogeca President Ramon Armengol added, "EU policies and actions need to ensure that rural areas remain attractive places to live and work in by improving access to basic services. In this regard access to investments is key both for farmers and local communities. Agri-cooperatives are valuable partners for rural areas as they have strong, unbreakable links with the regions where they operate. They create jobs and enable the implementation of innovative and sustainable actions that benefit everyone."
Considering that farming in Europe is mainly shaped by the policies in Brussels, both Presidents addressed the key strategies and policies currently at the centre of discussions, calling for a swift conclusion of the CAP reform process and more coherence between the different policies especially between Green Deal ambitions when it comes to agriculture and the EU current trade reality. European farmers and their cooperatives need a Common Agriculture Policy that is simple, that provides stability, concrete assistance, practical solutions and has a realistic approach to problems on the ground.
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