Introductory remarks by Commissioner WOJCIECHOWSKI at the AGRIFISH press conference
I would like to congratulate the Chair of the Council, Minister Klöckner. We had a long round of negotiations during 48 hours, many separate discussions - I participated in most of them, but in parallel I also attended the debate in the European Parliament and we managed to draw up a compromise in a spirit of constructive cooperation. I am grateful to Member States for being so cooperative. Of course, this compromise of the Council is not on a decision by the Commission; we are happy with some parts and not so happy about others but this is a good starting point for the trilogues for adopting solutions for the next seven years.
We have good news for our farmers. First of all, I believe that we will adopt the legal texts soon and farmers will have legal certainty for the next seven years of the Common Agricultural Policy. Public opinion is keen and interested in the CAP, and how it should contribute to the good state of the environment, the climate, animal welfare; all that is included here. Green architecture has its place in our CAP and we have a very sound foundation here.
Yesterday I participated in the EP debate. It was a lively discussion and 85 MEPs took the floor. Once I came to Luxembourg, I learnt that the Parliament adopted a compromise on key issues - the main issues that were very important for the German Presidency and for the Commission. These key issues are eco-schemes, which would be a ring-fenced within the first pillar. That is a major change in the CAP, because the first pillar consisted more on the redistribution of direct payments and now it will be expanded. If the EP and the Council adopt such a solution, the only thing to be determined will be the amount: 20% or 30%. Everything points to a conclusion of the stocks. It will be very positive adopting eco-schemes: positive for the climate, for the environment; this is a positive change and well received by our citizens who are expecting such reform.
In both positions of the EP and the Council we see a well-balanced agreement. We have a balanced approach where we care about the climate, about the environment, but also we care about the farmers, their livelihood and also food security.
Not everything is fully satisfactory to the Commission. We will enter in the trilogue phase. However, I think this is a very good foundation to reach an agreement between co-legislators. I would like to thank the Ministers for their constructive approach. Thanks also to their teams. Thanks to them for adopting this solution. This is a huge achievement. Few hours ago, it did not look very promising; we had very divergent views, but we managed to achieve this goal and agree on this conclusion.
A major issue of concern was small and medium size holdings, especially small holdings. My contribution and the contribution of the Commission consisted in convincing Member States that all these eco-schemes, the green architecture, everything that happens in the second pillar, all of this is very positive for small holdings. We want to include them in the general system of the CAP so they do not remain outside this policy, or on the margins, and they can really contribute and participate.
I think this would be a positive change for small holdings and small farms. Small farms needs to be supported - too many are disappearing, they are being taken over by intensive agriculture and thanks to these new solutions we will be able to sustain small farms to become a good part of the European agricultural system.
So I would like to thank Minister Julia Klöckner, the German presidency and congratulate her on this great achievement. Thank you.