The Agriculture and Rural Development Committee questioned the Polish candidate for the agriculture portfolio Janusz Wojciechowski on EU farm policy reform and trade negotiations.
Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet shortly after the hearing to assess, within 24 hours, the performance of Commissioner-designate Wojciechowski.
Future of EU farming and farmers
During his introductory speech, Mr Wojciechowski said the EU needs a “long-term vision for European agriculture”, inspired by current EU climate and energy strategies. The first step should be a “special report” looking into the “true picture” of the current situation on the ground. He called for further support for EU farmers, better environmental protection and for animal-welfare standards to be improved.
MEPs put forward several questions on the ongoing reform of EU farm policy, on how to make sure it remains a truly common policy that delivers both for farmers and consumers and how to make it more environmentally sound. Mr Wojciechowski said he was “open to discussions” to improve legislative proposals on the reform of the EU’s farm policy already on the table.
Members also questioned the Commissioner-designate on ways to ensure that EU farmers and consumers are better protected in free-trade talks, specifically mentioning for instance the ongoing EU-Mercosur negotiations, and asked him how foreign countries’ protectionist measures should be handled. They also discussed strengthening farmers’ position in the food supply chain, fairer distribution of direct payments within and among member states and measures to tackle anti-microbial resistance.
You can watch the video recording of the full hearing here.
Based on the committees’ recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.
The hearing with Agriculture and Rural Development Committee MEPs was chaired by Norbert Lins (EPP, DE). Members from the associated Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee also participated in the hearing.