National parliaments presented their initiatives to improve the CAP at the third panel of the conference

Zagreb – The Chairwoman of the Agriculture and Forestry Committee of the Parliament of Finland, Jenna Simula, and the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Cyprus, Yiannakis Gavriel, introduced the topic of national parliaments’ initiatives. - The main mission of agriculture is food production, and farmers are people who have dedicated their lives to this sector. They produce food in in the most difficult conditions and transfer knowledge from generation to generation, Simula emphasized at the beginning of her address and warned of our duty to take maximum care of these people who produce food for other people and to give them the opportunity to grow.

She said that the care for them and their income is insufficient, as their income does not correspond to their work. She also emphasized that prices in agricultural production are increasing and that farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to cope. - We as politicians must not make decisions that will cause even more problems for farmers. They deserve more respect and we must make decisions that will be good for them and solve their problems and make their lives easier in every possible way, concluded Simula.

Gavriel emphasized the importance of listening to farmers and their problems, stating that after talking with farmers, his Committee put pressure on the Cypriot Government regarding the regulations on reducing the use of pesticides. – The Committee supports the rational use of pesticides in accordance with respect for human health and the environment, but we must take care of the specificities of each EU member state and certain difficulties that some countries have, said Gavriel, emphasizing that, for example, in Cyprus, some pests cannot be got rid of without the use of pesticides. He warned of the need for a better definition of the so-called sensitive areas and said that small countries will have large costs and additional administrative burden to implement the Commission's proposal, and due to the structure of agricultural areas in Cyprus, it will be difficult to implement the Integrated Pest Management. We need greater flexibility and the specificities of each country have to be taken into account, concluded the representative of Cyprus.

Polish Member of Parliament Tomasz Głogowski emphasized the great importance of agriculture in Poland and referred to the problem of opening up the border for Ukrainian grain. He warned about the problem of importing Ukrainian grain and noted that it was necessary to protect the European borders.

The panel discussion was introduced by Maltese Member of Parliament, Katya De Giovanni, Spanish Member of Parliament, Jorge Martinez, Deputy-Chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee, Ružica Vukovac, and the Dean of the Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences of the University of Osijek Krunoslav Zmaić. De Giovanni said that Malta’s current agricultural programme was focused on stabilising farmers’ income and on increasing their resilience and that direct aid remained an important source in keeping this sector viable. - In addition, the dissemination of knowledge is another important pillar as farmers are given the necessary training and knowledge of how to make better use of natural resources, said De Giovanni adding that Malta supported investments in the processing and marketing of agricultural products and investments in infrastructure. She said that Malta was also working on other measures to increase organic farming, encourage a more sustainable agriculture and attract young farmers to the sector.

Member of Croatian Parliament Vukovac spoke about the importance of political dialogue with the European Commission, stressing that some of the topics on which the Agriculture Committee of the Croatian Parliament encouraged dialogue were the importance of the pollination role, subsidies to producers of mineral fertilizers, as well as the exchange of opinions on the CAP and the dialogue in which the Commission pointed out the need to determine the maximum shelf life of frozen products of animal origin on the EU market. – Along with the Commission, we also informed the parliaments of the EU member states about this dialogue, and the Ministry of Agriculture, which reported the same to the Council of Ministers in charge of agriculture and fisheries, said Vukovac and added that it was warned that food safety cannot be equated with quality. She concluded by saying that today’s discussion had shown modest contribution of national parliaments to the creation of European policies and accompanying legislation, which necessarily spills over into the national legislation of the member states.

Dean Zmaić spoke about the importance of the academic community and investment in experts and science, and emphasized the need to include the community in the decision-making process when it comes to the agricultural sector.

Representatives of national parliaments took part in the discussion pointing out the importance of nature conservation, sustainable agriculture that depends on soil conservation, and emphasis was also placed on food supply. The participants agreed that cooperation between national parliaments and the cooperation of the European Commission with national parliaments and farmers is important.

In conclusion, Wolfgang Burtscher spoke about agriculture in the context of food security and emphasized the challenges of agriculture, which on the one hand concern the sufficiency of food production, and on the other hand the preservation of biodiversity. Furthermore, he reiterated that the role of national parliaments in the new CAP had been raised to a higher level and gives the possibility of involvement in the creation of national strategic plans. They also pointed out that the Commission's dialogue with national parliaments is encouraged, and he noted that Commission President von der Layen emphasized in her State of the Union speech that dialogue, not polarization, is necessary.

In conclusion, the Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament, Norbert Lins, and the Chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee of the Croatian Parliament, Marijana Petir, addressed the gathering. Lins emphasized that a lot has been achieved when comprehensively speaking about the CAP and said that it is necessary to ensure its adequate financing as well as a balance between the needs of the member states and the decisions made at the EU level.

- Celebrating the tenth anniversary of Croatia's EU membership, with you, the most important people in charge of agriculture throughout Europe, I feel proud that we share the same values, awareness and responsibility for the most important resources in our countries. Land, air and water, with which agriculture and food production are closely connected, as well as the preservation of rural areas and biological diversity, permanently oblige us to adopt effective and sustainable policies and solutions, said Petir, thanking all representatives of national parliaments for being active stakeholders in the creation of Common agricultural policies.