Trade in the agriculture sector, as well as forestry, will be on the agenda for the first meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of 2024. This council consists of agriculture ministers from the Council of the EU, also known as the Council of Ministers. The meeting will mark the beginning of the Belgian presidency of the EU, which will last for six months until the end of June. During the meeting, the Belgian presidency will present its work program for the upcoming semester in the field of agriculture and fisheries.
Ministers will also discuss trade-related agricultural issues based on information provided by the European Commission. One of the highlights of the meeting will be a “policy dialogue on the future of agriculture in Europe.” This discussion will be based on information from the commission, which will be represented by Maroš Šefčovič, the executive vice-president of the commission for the European Green Deal. The council will engage in a public discussion on the strategic dialogue on the future of agriculture in Europe, which was initiated by the commission. This strategic dialogue was announced by commission president Ursula von der Leyen in September.
The council will also address forestry matters, including the proposed regulation on a monitoring framework for “resilient European forests.” In November, the commission introduced a Forest Monitoring Law, which was praised by environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius as a valuable addition to the Green Deal. The aim of this law is to establish a comprehensive forest knowledge base, fill information gaps, and enhance the response to growing pressures on forests.
In addition to these topics, the meeting will cover various other issues under the category of “other business.” These include discussions on sanctions on Russia-imported agricultural products, the implementation of the Area Monitoring System, the use of recovered nitrogen from manure for chemical fertilizers (RENURE), the role of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in ensuring high-quality food production, the Habitats Directive, and the management of large carnivore populations, as well as the water resilience initiative.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting provides an important platform for agriculture ministers to discuss and address key issues affecting the sector. It offers an opportunity for collaboration and the exchange of ideas and information among member states. As the first meeting of the Belgian presidency of the EU, it sets the tone for the priorities and agenda of the presidency in the field of agriculture and fisheries. The outcomes of this meeting will shape future policies and initiatives aimed at ensuring the sustainability and resilience of Europe’s agriculture and forestry sectors.