The meeting was also attended by the ministers of Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia, as well as EU Commissioner for agriculture and rural development Phil Hogan.
Sándor Fazekas, the Hungarian farm minister, said after the meeting that participants called for a strong common agricultural policy and supported the maintenance of a two-pillar structure. Participants also agreed that the common policy should be simple and effective in helping farmers access EU funds, ensuring their competitiveness in a global context, Fazekas said.
He added it was important for Hungary that funds earmarked for rural development should not be used to cover “expenses related to migration”.
Fazekas called the meeting “an important step” in creating a European agricultural policy “benefitting all EU citizens”. He voiced hope that further countries would sign the joint statement in future. Romania, he added, had declined to sign the statement because of its upcoming EU Council presidency, while Bulgaria had done the same because it now holds the rotating presidency.
Hogan said the European Commission sought to simplify CAP so that it ensures greater flexibility and subsidiarity to member states while reducing burdens on farmers. The policy should take into consideration international agreements signed in 2015 at the United Nations’ conference on climate change, he added. He agreed with participants that the common policy should support a decent living for farmers and ensure job protection. He said that the commission would come up with a draft law on CAP in June.
Featured image: MTI