Below is the text of the statement give by Robert Goodwill, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in the House of Commons on 2 April 2019.
I represented the UK at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels on 18 March.
The main item on the agriculture-focused agenda was the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020, covering three legislative files:
the regulation on CAP strategic plans,
the horizontal regulation, which is a regulation on the financing, management and monitoring of the CAP,
the regulation on common market organisation (CMO) of agricultural products.
Member states highlighted that further discussions were needed in areas such as the delivery model, wine labelling and greening. I intervened to introduce myself and expressed the UK’s interest to share thinking on our domestic arrangements as they develop. During the discussion Ministers also debated the outcome of the congress titled “CAP Strategic Plans – Exploring Eco-Climate Schemes” which took place in Leeuwarden, Netherlands on 6-8 February 2019, as well as the future of coupled income support in the CAP.
Council also held an exchange of views on the bioeconomy. Commissioner Hogan gave an overview of the implementation of the EU’s new strategy while member states exchanged examples of areas where the bioeconomy is being developed in their countries. I intervened on the item, welcoming the EU bioeconomy strategy and pointing to the UK’s national bioeconomy strategy which was published in December 2018.
A number of other items were discussed under ‘any other business’:
Slovenia informed Council about small-scale coastal fisheries and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
The Netherlands informed Council about a decision by the Technical Board of Appeals of the European Patent Office regarding the possibility to patent the results of classical plant breeding.
The Commission provided an update about the outcomes of the workshops organised by the Commission Task Force for Water and Agriculture on 27 November 2018 in Sore, Denmark and on 5-6 February 2019 in Bucharest, Romania.
Poland provided an update on the potential impact on the meat market considering new trade challenges. As the discussion reflected on the possible impact of the UK leaving the EU, I intervened to set out the reasoning behind our recently published temporary tariff regime for no-deal.