The Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on Tuesday resumed the 1 October hearing of the Polish candidate for the agriculture portfolio, Janusz Wojciechowski.
Political groups’ coordinators from the committee met immediately after the hearing to assess the performance of Commissioner-designate Wojciechowski.
Demanding concrete actions for EU farming and farmers
European farmers must get better support to increase their competitive edge and allow them to continue providing a secure supply of high-quality and healthy food to 500 million EU citizens, Mr Wojciechowski said at the beginning of his resumed 90-minute hearing. This requires proper funding, he added, pledging to fight for a strong budget for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). He also made a commitment towards closing the gap between payments for farmers within and among member states.
MEPs quizzed the Commissioner-designate once again about his views on the ongoing reform of the EU farm policy and on whether he was considering tabling new legislative proposals. They also asked him how he intends to boost the environmental performance of the CAP, to help increase the number of young farmers in the EU, to fight land concentration and to ensure that direct payments reach genuine farmers.
Members wanted to know how the Commissioner-designate plans to counter foreign countries’ protectionist measures, to finance market-related measures, and how to ensure that EU farmers and EU consumer-protection standards do not suffer any harm from free-trade deals. .
Based on the committees’ recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.
The hearing of Janusz Wojciechowski in the Agriculture Committee was launched on 1 October. Following the evaluation of his performance, political groups’ coordinators in the committee sent Mr Wojciechowski a further seven questions in writing. Following the assessment of his written replies on Monday, they asked the Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (EP President and leaders of political groups in the House) for permission to resume Mr Wojciechowski’s hearing. The request was greenlighted this morning.
The hearing with Agriculture and Rural Development Committee MEPs was chaired by Norbert Lins (EPP, DE). Members from the associated Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee also participated in the hearing.