War in Ukraine will upset Greece’s CAP plan – EURACTIV.com

Greece plans to revamp its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plan in light of the war in Ukraine to build resilience and expand farmers’ financing and risk management tools, Georgios Georgantas told EURACTIV Greece in an interview.

Georgios Georgantas is the Greek Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The plans, which set out the means by which EU countries intend to achieve the nine European objectives of the reformed CAP, have undergone the first stages of evaluation by the European Commission.

The executive recently sent the first batch of observation letters to member states, including Greece, with their first comments. The comments strongly emphasized the need for states to adapt to the changing situation in Europe following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Can you give us an overview of some of the feedback received on Greece’s national strategic plan?

These comments relate mainly to the need to adapt the strategic plans of all the Member States to the new situation created by the war in Ukraine, because when they were tabled, this event with significant consequences, including in the agri-food sector, did not had not yet taken place.

Comments also relate to issues of increased environmental concern and more effective articulation of policy measures contained in our strategic plan, as well as coupled aid.

Have there been any discussions of changes, or even additions, to your plans to help deal with the war in Ukraine?

The war in Ukraine has triggered the political reflexes of our government and the EU so that we can immediately and effectively provide lasting solutions to critical problems.

These include subjects such as energy autonomy and renewable energies, the reduction of input costs through investments in new technologies and digital technology, the promotion of the collective organization of producers to strengthen their position in the value chain and the expansion of financial and risk management tools to protect producers’ incomes. in relation to unforeseen exogenous crises, in particular economic, environmental, epidemiological, etc.

It is precisely these possibilities that we intend to expand and integrate into our strategic plan in order to further strengthen our support toolbox for producers under the new CAP.

How does Greece intend to use the new flexibilities recently granted by the Commission, including derogations from environmental measures?

There is strong concern at European level about the ‘green orientation’ of agriculture under conditions of jeopardizing EU food security and self-sufficiency due to the war in Ukraine, a criticism which, I must admit, was already present and had been expressed by the producers at the stage of the public consultation of the strategic plans.

This demonstrates the need to ensure the balanced pursuit of the objectives of the new CAP in relation to its economic, environmental and social ambitions.

A holistic approach to development is therefore needed, in which agriculture and the environment will work in a complementary way to achieve sustainable production conditions and ensure food sufficiency and security, using all financial instruments and tools, both European and national funds, which we already have activated to support our producers in this difficult situation.

Food safety is an issue of particular concern to the agri-food sector. As far as Greece is concerned, do we have food security?

There is no food security problem in Greece. We have taken all the necessary measures in time to deal with the risk. We helped overcome bureaucratic hurdles to cover imports from Russia and Ukraine through alternative markets. By recording stocks every five days, we avoid any speculation in the market.

At the same time, we encourage an increase in the production of common wheat and maize by including these products in the coupled aid scheme, as well as cultivation on farms declared fallow or greening, without losing the privileges provided for by these programs.

Likewise, the sunflower oil producers assured me that they would increase their cultivation so that there would be no problem in this direction either, although the stocks are sufficient even if we do not import a single liter for five months.

And how do you see the bigger picture?

We have covered imports of maize and common wheat from countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and France, as far as the EU is concerned, and from Canada as far as non-EU countries are concerned. EU.

There is no problem of sufficiency and there will be no problem. The battle is being played out at the price level so that prices can be contained and begin to fall. I believe that due to complacency, the self-regulatory mechanisms of the market are starting to work and we will soon see positive results.

[Edited by Natasha Foote/Nathalie Weatherald]

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