The V4+4 agriculture ministers, attending a session in Budapest on Tuesday, welcomed the EUs ruling to allow member states to decide on the cultivation of GMOs within their own national sphere of authority, the Minister of Agriculture emphasised at a press conference following the meeting. The decision is a significant success for Hungarian agrarian diplomacy, Minister Sándor Fazekas added.

Further topics of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting of the Visegrád Four+4, comprising the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia (V4) and Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia (+4), included reversed taxation and issues relating to the fruit and vegetable sector.

DownloadPhoto: Csaba Pelsőczy

Mr. Fazekas explained that reversed taxation was designed to combat black market trade and VAT fraud, but may currently only be applied to a very small sector of the economy. This kind of tax evasion and fraud is especially widespread in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia, and it is here that it causes problems, the Minister said. For this reason we must find a solution that assures the whitening of the economy, thus protecting both farmers and taxpayers. The participants of the meeting recommended that the Council of Finance Ministers deal with the issue in greater detail during the upcoming Slovakian presidency of the V4.

During discussions relating to the fruit and vegetable sector it was agreed that the EU must act to reinforce farmers’ associations, and especially in newly joined member states. This also requires that sufficient funding is made available. Ten EU member states have formerly adopted a joint standpoint on this issue, with regard to which the participants of Tuesday’s meeting reinforced their support.

DownloadPhoto: Csaba Pelsőczy

The Hungarian presidency of the V4 is now officially over and its responsibilities will be taken over by the next president, Slovakia. Minister Sándor Fazekas told the press that agriculture is relatively stable within the countries of the V4, and the fact that it was possible to successfully represent the interests of Hungary and the other V4 countries during negotiations on the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) last year was also due in no small part to this cooperation, because together, the V4 represents a significant force. The interests of the V4 countries are very similar with regard to agriculture.