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LEADER experiences: joint AGRI-CONT Public Hearing

AGRI
landscape-rural village-combine-harvester landscape-rural village-combine-harvester
LEADER-rural-development © Image used under the license from Shutterstock.com

On 22 November, the AGRI Committee, together with the CONT Committee held a Public Hearing on “LEADER experiences - lessons learned and effectiveness of EU funds for rural development”.

The aim was to evaluate how the LEADER programme had worked over the past, what its added value was and how it could be improved in the future, especially in light of the on-going CAP reform. In order to have a large spectrum of points of view, representatives from the European institutions, governments and stakeholders with experience on the ground participated.


Models of cooperation to strengthen farmers’ position in the food chain

AGRI
Brussels
Hearing on the food chain Hearing on the food chain
Farmers' position in the food chain © Image used under the license from Shutterstock.com

The Committee held a Public Hearing on “Models of cooperation to strengthen farmers’ position in the food chain - with a particular focus on the dairy sector”. The aim of the hearing was to discuss the latest developments in the ways farmers cooperate in order to strengthen their position in the food chain.

The hearing had a specific focus on the challenges the dairy sector is currently facing following 2016 crisis. In order to compare best practice, experts from the fruit and vegetable sector and academia also participated.


The Future of the CAP

AGRI
European Parliament, Brussels
Drone above a field and man with computer Drone above a field and man with computer
Future of PAC © Image used under the license from Shutterstock.com

The Committee held a Public Hearing featuring a number of experts representing public authorities as well as representatives from the Bavarian Farmers Association, Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

The aim of the Hearing was to gather insight in order to assist our three rapporteurs in their very important task of the CAP reform post 2020. A dialogue with the stakeholders was essential in order to achieve a CAP reform which works for European farmers and for European agriculture in general.


Labelling of Origin for Agricultural and Food Products

AGRI ENVI
European Parliament, Paul Henri Spaak building, Room 3C50, Brussels
Woman doing grocery shopping at the supermarket and reading food labels Woman doing grocery shopping at the supermarket and reading food labels
Joint AGRI/ENVI hearing on Labelling of Origin for Agricultural and Food Products © Image used under the license from Shutterstock.com

The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) in association with the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) organised a public hearing entitled "Labelling of Origin for Agricultural and Food Products”.

The aim of this hearing was to discuss on the one hand the implementation of national labelling schemes, with experiences from Italy, Finland and France and, on the other hand, whether the implementing act laying down rules for indicating the country of origin or place of provenance of foods (pursuant to Article 26(3) of Reg. 1169/201), published on 29 May in the Official Journal, is a sufficient response to consumers' demand for transparency and the needs of actors throughout the food supply chain.


Use of New Breeding Techniques

AGRI ENVI
Building József Antall, room JAN 4Q1, European Parliament, Brussels
Experiment Veal Cultivated Field Experiment Veal Cultivated Field
New breeding techniques © Image used under the license from Shutterstock.com

A hearing on New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) was organised in association with the ENVI committee. It is widely accepted that new crop varieties need to be developed to meet challenges such as climate change and the spread of plant diseases and an increasing number of plant breeding companies are already actively using NBTs. However some legal uncertainties have persisted in this field.

Members heard from experts including Niels Louwaars, Director of Plantum, the Seed Association in the Netherlands, Julien Mante, engineer at "France Limousin Sélection" and responsible for R&D at "Pole de Lanaud", Yves Bertheau, INRA Research Director, Arend Streng, Patent Specialist at "Rijk Zwaan Zaadteelt en Zaadhandel B.V.", Detlef Bartsch, Head of Department - Genetic Engineering at the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety and Sophia Lakhdar, Chairwoman, Bio Consom'acteurs.


Genetic diversity, conservation and crop wild relatives

AGRI
Building József Antall, room 2Q2 - European Parliament Brussels
wild flowers in front of cultivated field wild flowers in front of cultivated field
crop diversity © European Union (2017)

The committee meeting on 7 December consisted of the hearing on genetic diversity, conservation and crops wild relatives. Crop wild relatives are closely related to our cultivated crops, but grow naturally under a wide range of environmental conditions. They can be crossed with existing crops to produce varieties that are more adaptable to local climates. Furthermore they can be used to develop crop varieties with greater resilience to climate change.

Not only is it important to conserve these species in secure gene banks, it is also important to conserve them in their natural habitats so that they continue to adapt and change. The 'European Biodiversity Strategy' (COM (2011) 244 final) aims to help stopping global biodiversity loss and also reflects EU commitments in the 'International Convention on Biological Diversity'. The purpose of this hearing was to up-date AGRI Committee members on the state-of-play in research and allow for a debate on crop wild relatives, preserving the genetic banks and the role of genetic diversity notably in relation to food security.


The EU Forest Strategy - Joint AGRI, ENVI and ITRE Public Hearing

AGRI ENVI ITRE
Wooden Logs with Forest on Background / Trunks of trees cut and stacked in the foreground, green forest in the background with sun rays Wooden Logs with Forest on Background / Trunks of trees cut and stacked in the foreground, green forest in the background with sun rays
Europrean Forest Strategy hearing © European Union

The public hearing aimed to provide input to the review to be carried out by 2018 to assess progress in the implementation of the EU Forest Strategy. This joint hearing also provided a platform for annual structural dialogue between the Parliament and the Commission on the implementation of the new EU Forest strategy.

The six invited experts discussed in particular European Forest Governance, the role of the forest-based sector in the bioeconomy and in the rural development policy, and the links between forests and resilient landscapes.


Implementation of Young Farmers' Policies after the 2013 CAP Reform

AGRI
Young Couple of farmers with tractor Young Couple of farmers with tractor
Young farmers © European Union

The AGRI Committee is drawing up an ‘implementation report’ on the measures agreed in the 2013 CAP Reform to support young farmers, for which Mr Caputo (S&D, IT) is the rapporteur. Members heard from a variety of protagonists how EU policies for young farmers are being implemented. The hearing gathered speakers from the Court of Auditors, the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), the Italian Council for Research in Agriculture (CREA) and the Committee of the Regions.


A comparative analysis of global agricultural policies. Lessons for Europe?

AGRI
A comparative analysis of global agricultural policies: lessons for Europe? A comparative analysis of global agricultural policies: lessons for Europe?
Global agricultural policies - Hearing © European Union (2017), European Parliament

Ahead of the Commission's Communication on the CAP post 2020, Members felt it useful to discuss the Common Agricultural Policy by comparing it to other agricultural models in the US, Canada, Australia and other parts of the world. Invited experts included: Professor Thia Hennessy, of the Cork University Business School (Ireland); Professor Erik Mathijs, of the University of Leuven in Belgium; and Mr Joshua Anderson, Head of EU Affairs at Meat and Livestock Australia in Brussels.


Sustainable Plant Protection: Opportunities and Challenges for the AGRI Sector

AGRI
Brussels
Sustainable plant protection Sustainable plant protection
Hearing Sustainable plant protection © European Union

AGRI organised a hearing on Sustainable Plant Protection. Five experts had been invited to address Members: Mr Chinn, Centre for Applied Crop Science, UK, Mr Lembacher, Austrian Chamber of Agriculture, Ms Kienzle, Organic Fruit Growing Organisation, Germany, Mr. Alarcón Roldán, DG for Agricultural and Livestock Production of Andalucía and Mr Danielewicz, Institute of Plant Protection, National Research Institute, Poland.

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