Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Brussels on 19 February. Counsellor Rory O’Donnell represented the UK.
The most substantive Council discussion was an exchange of views on ‘The Future of Food and Farming’, a continuation of early discussion of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020. Member States agreed on the importance of direct payments in providing income stability to farmers. The UK signposted a future domestic agriculture policy based on rewarding farmers for public goods.
The Council moved on to a discussion of possible revisions to the EU Bioeconomy Strategy. Member States were in agreement that the agricultural sector would benefit from a greater role in the bioeconomy, particularly in exploring new methods of adding value in agricultural supply chains.
The European Commission provided Council with information on an EU Protein Plan. The UK welcomed the plan, and particularly planned actions to tackle deforestation.
Three further items were discussed under ‘any other business’:
* the European Commission presented information to Council on the Rural Africa Task Force
* the Polish delegation presented a paper to Council on rural development in the CAP post 2020
* the Agriculture Ministers of the Visegrad Member States presented a joint declaration to the Council on ‘The Future of Food and farming’.
Until the UK leaves the European Union, the UK remains a full member of the EU and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. The outcome of our negotiations with the EU on the future partnership will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future.