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Article: Germany seeks Council agreement on F2F by October

21 July 2020

German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner led her first AGRIFISH Council on Monday (20 July) at the first meeting back in Brussels since the start of COVID-19 outbreaks in Europe.

After repeating that she aims to reach a Council position on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform by October, Klöckner revealed that this is also the ambition for the Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy - the European Commission's 2030 plan to make agri-food supply chains more sustainable.

The German minister had stated earlier that she wants these two EU policies to be closely aligned to increase the bloc's ambitions on the environment and climate change.

The new chair further declared that the COVID-19 pandemic presents the main challenge for Germany's six-month term, during which it will work on a "properly coordinated response" and a "sustainable economic recovery".

She told her colleagues that the novel coronavirus will also cast a shadow over the bloc's future farming policies.

"The experience of the pandemic will have an effect on the CAP and on any agreement on the 'green architecture'," she said, referring to the environmental components of the next farming policy and its ability to meet the Commission's sustainability objectives.

Reaching an agreement on the next EU budget for 2021-2027 will also be a "precondition" to finalise the CAP reform, Klöckner continued to say. However, these talks seem to be completely blocked following three days of discussions between EU leaders at the European Council summit that started on 18 July.

Other priorities mentioned include setting up a harmonised EU animal welfare label and improving front-of-package nutrition labeling in the bloc.

Klöckner had already shared her key objectives with Agriculture MEPs on 15 July, where she said she also aims to conclude the negotiations on the CAP transitional rules by the end of the year.

Next meetings

Klöckner confirmed that an 'informal' AGRIFISH meeting will take place in Koblenz at the end of August (30 August - 1 September), with discussions to be focused on the lessons learnt from the COVID-19 crisis for the agri-food sector.

Germany will also organise a conference on promoting digitalisation in farming, which it sees as key to reconcile the economic and environmental sustainability of the sector.

After the summer holidays, the country will be leading an AGRIFISH Council every month, with meetings currently scheduled for 21-22 September, 19-20 October, 16-17 November and 15-16 December.

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