At the 18 March 2019 session of the of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, Hungary and Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia requested in a joint statement to increase or at least keep level subsidies coupled to production in the post-2020 EU budget period.

The European Commission proposal to reduce the rate of agricultural subsidies coupled with production from the current 13+2% to 10+2% of the direct support scheme for Hungary is obviously a step backwards. It would be essential to retain the subsidies concerned to provide adequate funding to, and ensure the competitiveness of such labour-intensive sectors as animal husbandry or horticulture, Minister of State for Rural Development Miklós Kis, heading the Hungarian delegation, said after the session.

The system of subsidies coupled with production typically provides an opportunity to provide supplementary funding to a sector experiencing difficulties, so it is a crucial question which sectors will be eligible to it in the future. In this regard, Hungary would prefer to have its scope widened, since certain situations can make it reasonable to involve new sectors. Suffice it to recall the effects of the Russian embargo since 2015 or the potential negative impact of international trade negotiations in progress on certain sectors, the Minister of State noted. In addition to the seven countries submitting the proposal, several other Member States have also indicated at the Council meeting that they will support it.

Hungary is interested in the adoption of a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) through which Hungarian farmers can request and be granted the subsidies due to them in the simplest way. However, the proposal of the European Commission should be amended thoroughly to ensure that, Miklós Kis emphasised.

The ministers of agriculture discussed also several other elements of the CAP reform in progress at the 2nd Agriculture and Fisheries Council session held during the six months of the Romanian Presidency, and they agreed that further negotiations are needed in particular concerning the execution rules of the new subsidy system.

(AM Press Office)