Romain Schneider, Luxembourg's Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture & Rural Development; Credit: European Union

Luxembourg's Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, Romain Schneider, participated in the EU Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries on Tuesday in Brussels.

The EU ministers approved the Council conclusions on a European-wide animal welfare label. Minister Romain Schneider expressed his support for voluntary labelling on animal welfare, aimed at promoting ambitious standards for the protection of farm animals. In Luxembourg, animal protection will be further strengthened through the development of legislation on quality labels for agricultural products which will include animal welfare criteria.

Ministers also discussed another key issue for European consumers: nutrition labelling, which must now appear on the front of food packaging, nutrient profiles and origin labelling. Minister Romain Schneider pointed out that from 2021, Luxembourg will set up the “Nutriscore” label, which is already represented on the Grand Duchy's market; companies will be allowed to voluntarily use this label. Luxembourg's Minister of Agriculture also announced a major consumer information campaign on this tool which aims to help reduce growing obesity in the Grand Duchy.

Regarding origin labelling, Minister Romain Schneider spoke in favour of a voluntary approach. On the consumer side, a recent consultation has shown that consumers consider the name of the country to be equivalent to that of the cross-border region. However, the minister warned against the proliferation of labelling on food packaging, which could lead to confusion among consumers.

The ministers also discussed the state of play of the work carried out on the reform of the post-2020 common agricultural policy (CAP) and the transitional measures which will enter into force. Regarding the strategic plans of the future CAP, Minister Romain Schneider insisted on the key elements for the Grand Duchy, namely the maintenance of the principle of subsidiarity, guaranteeing more flexibility to member countries, an approach centred on identified needs and performance models, as well as a simplified CAP.

Luxembourg's Agriculture Minister was already a member of the Council of Agriculture Ministers during the last reform of the CAP in 2013. Due to his experience, he was appointed chair of the informal group of European ministers of agriculture of the socialist movements, where he shares his vision of “socially, economically and ecologically sustainable” agriculture.