The EP’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development held a good spirited debate with Sándor Fazekas Minister for Rural Development, who underlined the importance of a strong Common Agricultural Policy. MEPs in the Committee on Fisheries took great interest in the presentation of the Minister on the Presidency’s priorities as well.
Since Hungary is landlocked, it did not have a well defined position on fisheries earlier. The Minister pointed out that the Hungarian Presidency can turn this to an advantage, as it will be capable of judging conflicts of interest between member states and EU institutions in an impartial way.
At the hearing, the Minister highlighted that the main aim is to frame a sustainable fisheries policy. At present, the Council is awaiting the European Commission’s proposals. The Hungarian Presidency seeks to make headway in improving the situation of fishermen, reducing the number of thrown-back fish, and developing European aqua-culture. Mr Fazekas also reassured MEPs who raised questions about the international aspects of the policy.
In response to MEPs, the Minister stressed the Hungarian Presidency’s awareness on inland fishing, is an important industry in several member states, mostly subject to national competence, therefore he did not want to elaborate further on the subject.
Strong agricultural policy with appropriate funding
The Hungarian Presidency wants a strong common agricultural policy (CAP), Rural Development Minister, Sándor Fazekas, pointed out to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. The Minister argued that the CAP is the EU’s oldest common policy, and it employs more people than the automotive industry. Mr Fazekas claimed that a strong agricultural policy needs suitable funds, so the EU’s agricultural budget should not be reduced. The Hungarian Minister talked highly about the President and Chief Rapporteur of the Parliament’s Agricultural Committee, and reiterated the Hungary Presidency’s promise to engage in exemplary cooperation with the EP.
According to Mr Fazekas’ account, the Hungarian Presidency’s priorities include the adjustment of the agricultural legislation to the Lisbon Treaty.
He gave answers to MEPs’ questions about the Hungarian Presidency’s ambitions regarding the CAP reform and other issues, such as the different magnitude of agricultural subsidies in member states and within individual member states, or the definition of small producers. The Minister said, “Our ambition is to reach a consensus in consultation with member states. The Hungarian Presidency’s task is to sum up member state positions.”