(L-R) Virginiju Sinkevicius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries; Claude Haagen, Minister for Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development; Credit: MA

On Monday 13 June 2022, Luxembourg's Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development, Claude Haagen, took part in the “Agriculture and Fisheries” Council meeting in Luxembourg.

The main subject of this Council was the fluctuating situation of agricultural markets and the maintenance of food security following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Minister Haagen thanked the Commission for having acted quickly on several levels to support farmers and underlined that the European Union (EU) needs a significant production potential and a strong and robust agriculture without losing sight of the objectives in terms of environmental and climate protection. In Luxembourg, agricultural businesses are impacted by the increase in energy, fertiliser and animal feed prices, and the contraction of margins and the economic risks incurred by these unpredictable times. Already on 20 May 2022, Minister Haagen had presented a support package comprising six specific measures to support the agricultural and agri-food sectors in Luxembourg.

Minister Haagen expressed concern about the food affordability crisis for lower income people in Europe, and famine in third countries most dependent on imports of basic foodstuffs. During the exchanges, Minister Haagen supported the idea of ​​making crop rotation practices more flexible, but stressed that the decisions in question must be taken quickly so that farmers can adapt.

The health and environmental standards that the EU imposes on imported agricultural and agri-food products were another point of discussion at the Council. Minister Haagen plead in favour of a pragmatic assessment of import standards, on a case-by-case basis, especially in view of the current crisis situation, with a priority on the fight against antibiotic resistance and against climate change.