On Friday, 30 April, the Minister of Rural Affairs of Estonia, Mr Urmas Kruuse, hosted a video meeting with his colleagues from Latvia and Lithuania to discuss the CAP reform package, Farm to Fork strategy and COVID-19 emergency measures.
During the meeting, Minister Kruuse pointed out the need to address the reform package of the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) as a uniform plan. The ministers of the three Baltic States assured that they will be standing for their national positions and acknowledged the need to reach a quick agreement on the future CAP. “First and foremost, we need to ensure certainty for the sector, as it is facing major challenges in adapting to both the post-crisis and environmental objectives,” Minister Kruuse said.
As part of the discussions on the Farm to Fork strategy, all the Baltic agricultural ministers expressed their willingness to support the strategy, however, they agreed on the importance of having the specific situation of each Member State and the efforts already made to be taken into account. The aim of the Farm to Fork strategy is to promote a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system.
Minister Kruuse stressed that in implementing the strategy, attention must be paid to the funding of research and development, as well as raise public awareness to increase demand for food that has been produced locally and in an environmentally sustainable way. Alongside, we also mustn't forget the importance of self-sufficiency in food production.
The Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture, Mr Kęstutis Navickas, pointed out their concerns regarding the outbreak of avian influenza, which could mean new problems for the sector.
When discussing COVID-19 emergency measures, it was revealed that most of the crisis alleviation measures were already distributed in 2020: Lithuania provided 154 million euros, Latvia 100 million euros and Estonia 200 million euros to manage the crisis. “As a new measure, Estonia has also started with the financial leasing of land,” Minister Kruuse stated.
Latvia has mostly supported the vegetable, beef and poultry sectors, while Lithuania has provided the most assistance to the dairy, poultry and pork sectors.