Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU: taking stock

For a stronger European partnership: four Council meetings held in Brussels and Luxembourg within six months, virtual ministerial sessions, meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Koblenz. Our priority areas: a sustainable future based on up-to-date agricultural policy; animal welfare; food labelling; biodiversity; environmental protection and climate change mitigation with the involvement of the agricultural and forestry sectors; securing of fisheries resources.

We are the driving force behind a state-of-the-art, ecologically sound and future-proof European agricultural sector.

On 31 December 2020, the German Presidency of the Council of the EU came to an end after six months of intensive work. We achieved a great deal. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this outcome!

Brandenburger Tor bei Nacht mit angestrahltem Logo der Deutschen EU-Ratspräsidentschaft
Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU: taking stock (German language)

In the following, we would like to provide you with further details on the outcome achieved by the German Council Presidency:

Working together for a greater appreciation of food and the reduction of food waste.

As food is valuable and too good for the bin, Germany has taken its National Food Waste Reduction Strategy to a European level, thereby providing impetus with the Commission and the Member States to reduce food waste along the entire value chain. The EU Member States have agreed on systematically reducing food losses.

Forests are our “green lungs”. We will make them more resilient.

Growing the future: our forests are habitats, employers, and suppliers of raw material. They are also important mitigators of climate change. To ensure that things stay that way, the Member States have agreed on a new EU Forest Strategy. Adapting our forests to climate change will foster the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable forest management.

Progress made in digitalising the agricultural sector.

Greater precision for reduced workloads, environmental protection and climate change mitigation: the German Council Presidency has advanced the discussion on EU-wide regulations for the use of data from agricultural sources. Key questions include the following: who owns the data, who is granted access to them, how can they be used, and how can we support the agricultural industry in its digitalisation and modernisation efforts?

Greater sustainability, better labelling and supply security for our food.

Greater sustainability, from farm to fork: Europe confirms its commitment to an ecological, economically and socially viable agri-food industry. Objectives include: safeguarding regional food security, ensuring enhanced climate stewardship and biodiversity along the entire production and supply chains from farmers to consumers, and strengthening the competitiveness of domestic enterprises on global markets.

Overcoming the impact of the pandemic, securing regional food production, maintaining functioning supply chains.

Towards an economic recovery that places a greater focus on sustainability and digitalisation: under the German Presidency, the Member States made sure that, in 2021 and 2022, an extra 8.2 billion euro from the EU recovery fund earmarked for European agricultural policy will be allocated to rural development. This will allow us to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the agricultural sector, rural areas and supply chains.

Identifying nutrition and the origin of food at a glance.

Eat better. It’s easy! In Germany, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

has already introduced the Nutri-Score. At her initiative, the majority of the Council also voiced its support for an improved, EU-wide, harmonised front-of-pack nutrition labelling scheme and extended origin labelling. This will provide consumers with better guidance.

The European animal welfare label has been launched.

An important step has been taken towards more animal welfare across Europe: the Member States agreed on an EU-wide, uniform animal welfare label based on high standards for all livestock species. This will increase reliability for consumers and create incentives for producers to make even greater efforts in the field of animal welfare.

System change in European agricultural policy.

The Council gave a clear signal: there must be a quid pro quo. Every single euro will be made contingent on climate stewardship and environmental standards. Eco-schemes mandatory for all actors will reward farmers who are more actively engaged in environmental protection and climate mitigation. This will make our food production more climate-friendly and also stabilise the income of small holdings. Young farmers will receive greater support and the rural regions will be developed further.

Enhancing animal protection during transport, eliminating possible loopholes.

Transport conditions will be improved: at Germany’s initiative, the Commission will revise the EU Transport Regulation, taking into account scientific findings. The aim is to improve transport conditions and avoid unnecessary journeys. In order to establish high animal welfare standards across Europe which will be observed by all EU Member States.

The right to food is a human right.

Combating hunger, protecting livelihoods, establishing peace: under the German Presidency, the EU agreed on the position it intends to take with regard to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit. The EU aims to ensure access to secure and nutritious food for all people worldwide and to make progress in achieving all Sustainable Development Goals. Europe’s responsibility is global and does not stop at the borders.

Subsidies for stepping up environmental and climate stewardship services in the agricultural sector have been secured. CAP budget consolidated.

Planning certainty for farmers, with a view to better reconciling resilient food production with environmental protection and climate stewardship. 387 billion euro have been allocated to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period up until 2027. The CAP’s financial volume will thus remain roughly at its current level. This will allow the EU to provide the agricultural sector with reliable, effective support, also in the fulfilment of its social responsibilities regarding animal welfare and more sustainable arable production. Structures ensuring attractive living conditions in rural regions and the development of these regions will be strengthened.

Fish stocks protected against over-exploitation, sustainable outlook for the fishing industry secured.

Predictability for the fishing sector and protection of fish stocks: despite the difficult circumstances, the Member States have achieved a trade-off between the fishing industry’s interests and the recovery of fish stocks. Thus, the future of EU fisheries has been secured for the period from 1 January 2021 onwards.

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