Announcement from the 54th meeting of the representatives of the Agricultural Chambers of the Visegrad Four countries
held on 11th – 12th of September 2014 in Pápa, Hungary
Representatives of the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture (HCA), the Slovak Chamber of Agriculture and Food (SPPK), the National Council of Agricultural Chambers of Poland (KRIR) and the Agricultural Chamber of the Czech Republic (AKČR) attended the 54th meeting of the Agricultural Chambers of the Visegrad Four countries which was held on 11th – 12th of September 2014 in Pápa, Hungary.
Representatives of the Agricultural Chambers of the Visegrad Group discussed the current situation of the agri-food markets of their countries, in particular, the impact of the Russian import restrictions. The situation that evolved in August – combined with the restrictions introduced earlier due to African swine fever – caused serious market tensions in our countries and its effects on our markets are perceivable both directly and indirectly. In this context we consider it necessary that proper measures are taken at Community level to protect our producers:
• We believe that the amounts meant for the alleviation of the impacts of the import restrictions at Community level are not satisfactory. The current situation dires and requires an immediate action supported with reasonable budget. If the EU is willing to spend in abundance on energy policy to ensure stable prices and viability of European producers, agricultural and food sectors must be treated the same way. We deem agriculture to be of strategic importance to the very survival of European society. We are determined to promote our cause by all and any means necessary and call on other member states affected by the Russian embargo to join us.
• To alleviate the pressure on the internal market of the European Union the EU must ensure the placement of the goods stuck in and the mitigation of the damages arising, primarily not from the CAP budget. At the same time, every member state of EU should have possibility to take action in case of dumping imports of goods from other member states of European Union.
• We encourage the extension of the resources of the reserves (risk management fund) provided under the Common Agricultural Policy in cases of agricultural crises.
• We recommend the increase of the support budget of the school fruit, school milk and other aid programmes.
• We support the activation of private storage aids and export subsidies, for agricultural products including, but not limited to cheeses, apples, dairy product, paprika. We do not regard the reduction of the duty payment obligation as an acceptable solution.
• We believe it is necessary to extend the private storage aid established for dairy products (butter, skimmed milk powder) to other sectors with a sufficient budget as soon as possible. It is also necessary to increase of intervention prices of concerned goods.
• A mutual, fast and organized exchange of information is needed for products already affected and product not yet affected by the embargo to avoid any further market disturbances (e.g. wine). Therefore we call on the Commission and COPA-COGECA to intensively monitor the change of Community market prices in the case of products affected the most.
• We recommend that new markets are explored at Community level both within and outside the EU especially for the products affected by the embargo. We suggest support for processing raw agricultural products affected by the embargo in a way that enables to store it for a longer period of time.
• With regard to this situation it is necessary to increase the protection of the EU’s internal market against products from third countries by achieving maximum observance of the animal health and food safety standards in the case of products from countries outside the EU.
As item 2 on the agenda the issues and regulation of game management in our countries and within them the issues of damage caused by wild animals were discussed. We believe it is important to establish such a regulation both at national and Community level which takes into account farmers’ interests and precisely specifies the scope of responsibility as well as determines the ways of compensation. In this context, to compensate for damages arising from the collision of a wild animal and a vehicle an insurance scheme suitable for all parties should be elaborated.
As item 3 on the agenda issues of land lease and land acquisition were discussed, presenting the practices of our countries. The participants agreed that land should primarily remain in our farmers’ ownership and use.
In item 4 on the agenda our chambers described the accepted financial envelopes and available resources of Pillars I and II of the new CAP for 2014-2020 and also mentioned the current state of implementation of the individual measures. Representatives of the agricultural chambers of the V4 countries agreed that the allocation of agricultural resources should be realized in such a way that it may serve as much as possible for the preservation of the viability of rural areas as well as for the increase of the number and representation of the interests of people employed in agriculture.
Our chambers agreed that in the present situation we must show sufficient sensitivity both at national and Community level in addressing the tensions affecting agriculture. The market disruption, which hit agricultural production during the season and which arose for reasons beyond its control, should be mitigated as soon as possible, for which adequate funds should be used not only from the CAP budget.
Based on all these we definitely call on our Governments, competent ministers and the Presidency of COPA-COGECA to ensure to our sectors – with proper information flow – the possibility of efficient and coordinated enforcement of interests taking into account the interests of the producers in all Member States and to do their best to compensate for the damages suffered by agriculture and the food industry.
The participants of the meeting agreed that the next meeting of the V4 countries would be held in the Czech Republic.
This Communiqué was issued in five original copies, of which each delegation will receive one copy, and one copy will be sent to COPA-COGECA.
Pápa, 12th September 2014