The Agriculture and Fisheries Council adopted the general approach on the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy on its October 19-20 meeting. A lively debate emerged between ministers about the new green architecture and mainly about the newly introduced eco-schemes. According to the final agreement, Member States obliged to spend at least 20% of their national direct payments envelopes on these schemes. Eco-schemes, together with the enhanced conditionality and the second pillar agro-environmental measures will ensure the agricultural sector’s contribution to the fight against climate change. Area based direct payments and rural development investments will help to maintain and increase the competitiveness of the sector. It is important for Hungary, that sensitive agricultural sectors will continue to be supported through voluntary coupled support and transitional national aid.
Agricultural ministers adopted council conclusions on the Farm to Fork Strategy. The conclusions highlight that the strategy should contribute to achieving the EU’s climate neutrality and biodiversity goals. Hungary agrees that agriculture should contribute to the climate and environment goals, but some targets set out in the Strategy places disproportionate burden on Member States. Especially the further decreasing of the use of chemical pesticides by 50%, and the 25% goal of organic farming areas seems to be overly ambitious. Attention should be kept on differing situation of Member States and on the efforts already made. It would not be fair to request the same decrease from those Member States who already achieved success in reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Hungary annexed a statement to the council conclusions, in which they reiterated that the CAP’s contribution to the goals of the Strategy should only be linked to such criteria, which based on sound legal basis. Farmers could only be complied with such conditions, which are laid down in basic acts. On this basis, the European Commission should only examine the conditions set out in the adopted union acts when assessing the Member States' CAP strategic plans.