What would you want to ask Germany's Presidency of the Council of the EU? Our series answers three questions asked by citizens. This time, the questions concern agriculture in the EU.
1.What can the EU do to make agriculture more efficient and more sustainable, given a growing population?
The German Federal Government’s goal is to have a sustainable, land-based and innovative agricultural sector that is economically viable and socially acceptable. In order to fulfil responsibilities to future generations, production must be animal-friendly and sustainable; it must also preserve diversity of species and varieties, mitigate climate change and make nature areas and recreational areas attractive.
Digitalisation and new technologies can help utilise resources more precisely. These can, for example, reduce the need for inputs such as plant protection agents and fertilisers. This is an important contribution to increasing sustainability.
Only if producers receive appropriate prices for their products, and are consequently able to earn a sufficient income, will it be possible to maintain agriculture in Germany. The price of a food should reflect how much work went into producing it. A market economy functioning at all levels remains the most important prerequisite for this. The price that we pay for food in shops only covers some of the aspects of work done by agricultural enterprises. These include, for example, the maintenance of cultivated landscapes, adhering to additional animal-welfare standards or taking measures to protect the agricultural environment or the climate. To compensate for the costs that arise in providing such services, agricultural enterprises also receive funding from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
These aspects will be important topics during Germany’s Presidency of the Council - in particular during the discussion of the Farm to Fork Strategy presented by the European Commission and of the realignment of the EU’s CAP.
2.Is an EU-wide animal welfare label going to be introduced?
Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner is attempting to create the foundations for the introduction of an EU-wide animal welfare label during Germany’s Council Presidency. Positive feedback from EU members shows that such a label could be an important element on the path towards improved animal welfare in European livestock husbandry.
During Germany’s Council Presidency, the aim is to discuss and develop possibilities for implementing and designing an EU-wide animal welfare label which would ideally be mandatory for all EU members. This would send a clear signal - even though it is only the European Commission which actually has the right to initiate such legislation.
3.I would like to see an expanded, mandatory nutritional labelling system. Would that be possible?
Nutri-Score is an expanded nutritional labelling system which evaluates the nutritional value of a pre-packaged food along five grades, featuring combinations of colours and letters. Current EU law does not offer a possibility for making an expanded nutritional labelling system mandatory at member state level. It is only possible to make recommendations at the national level. France and Belgium use the Nutri-Score system, but it is not mandatory in those countries.
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The European Union thrives off of the interest and engagement of its citizens. That's why we want to know: what questions do you have for Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU? What do you want to know from political decision-makers in the ministries? Our series “3 questions, 3 answers” puts your questions about important topics of the Council Presidency to a vote on our social media channels. The three most popular questions will then be answered on eu2020.de.