At the EU Council for Agriculture, the Deputy Minister requested a higher ceiling for crisis aid, support for the Dairy and Beekeeping sector and an extension of restrictions on the import of wheat, corn, sunflower and rapeseed
The crisis of the war in Ukraine signals that long-term solutions must be sought for European manufacturers. The question of the competitiveness of agricultural producers in the European Union is more important today than ever. Beyond financial support for farmers, it is imperative to find a sustainable long-term solution for their competitiveness and survival. This was stated by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture Georgi Sabev at the meeting of Council of the European Union on Agriculture and Fisheries, which took place in Brussels yesterday.
“While the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative by two months is good news, it is only a temporary solution that may disappear in the heat of this year’s campaign. Pan-European solutions such as guarantee funds and schemes need to be activated to help countries that need to import products from Ukraine and the EU. Another solution is support for the rapid construction of warehouse capacities and infrastructure for export,” added Georgi Sabev.
The Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Agriculture indicated that it is essential for Bulgaria to guarantee the transit function of the corridors of solidarity to other member states and third countries. In connection with the preventive measure introduced by the Implementation Regulation affecting the import of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds, Georgi Sabev pointed out that in order to guarantee the stability of the market, it is important to extend the measure beyond June 5, 2023. It is crucial that the European Commission continues to monitor imports of other sensitive agri-food products from Ukraine and that preventive measures are quickly implemented if necessary,” Georgi Sabev said.
“In order to prevent severe disruptions in the market of agricultural products for the sectors with the highest costs of raw materials and with implementation difficulties, it is necessary to provide support. There is a clear tendency for difficulties in the market not only for milk, dairy products and honey, but also in other sub-sectors of animal husbandry”, added the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
“In view of the difficult situation in the sector caused by the war in Ukraine, we call for an amendment to the Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures in Crisis and Transition to Support the Economy,” explained Georgi Sabev. He recalled that under the current conditions of the Crisis Framework, the normatively determined ceiling does not allow the larger farms in the sector to be adequately compensated for the increased costs of growing agricultural crops and farm animals, which will put them in a less favorable position compared to other farms.
The meeting discussed Croatia’s proposal for changes to current commercial practices related to trade in frozen products, in particular frozen meat. “Educating consumers about the length of time they can store different types of frozen meat can prevent food poisoning and other food safety hazards,” Georgi Sabev said. He indicated that Bulgaria supports the proposal and believes that appropriate activities should be undertaken to regulate the issue of the shelf life of frozen meat at the EU level.
Another topic on which European agriculture ministers exchanged views was the proposal for a regulation on packaging and packaging waste and aspects of the legislative proposal related to food safety and food waste. For Bulgaria, it is a priority that the elimination of dangerous and harmful substances and the promotion of the reuse of packaging be accompanied by the provision of traceability, taking into account the impact of harmful substances on human health and the environment.
Unfavorable climatic conditions in some of the European countries were also among the topics discussed. Deputy Minister Sabev shared that the decrease in snowfall in Bulgaria also poses a risk. And he commented that the decline in the production of important agricultural crops creates a risk for the food security of people and animals and is a prerequisite for strong inflationary pressure. Georgi Sabev added that the country supports the proposal to increase the level of advance payments for direct payments.
The agricultural ministers in the Union also discussed the subject of an EU-Australia free trade agreement. Bulgaria believes that the pursuit of balance in trade negotiations will bring benefits not only for the country, but also for the EU. “When importing agricultural goods into the Union from third countries, identical to the high EU standards that European producers comply with, in the field of environment, animal welfare, plant health and veterinary requirements, should be observed. For Bulgaria, the protection of products with geographical indications on the territory of Australia remains key. In this regard, I thank the European Commission for the inclusion and protection of PGI Bulgarian rose oil and PGI Straldzhan muscat brandy in this EU free trade agreement,” Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Georgi Sabev said in conclusion.
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