Renewable energy sources derived from agriculture, Central European agrarian research and the dual quality of food – these were the most important issues for the countries of the Visegrád Group (V4) among the topics of discussion at today’s session of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels.

“Today’s session of the Council was proof of the fact that coordinated action on the part of the V4 countries can help us achieve outstanding success within more and more areas of agriculture”, Minister of State for Agricultural Economy György Czerván said following the meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels on 6 November, the agenda of which included two V4 statements adopted on Hungary’s initiative.

As the Visegrád Group’s current President, Hungary presented the joint statements on renewable resources and the BIOEAST initiative signed at the meeting of V4 agriculture ministers held in Visegrád on 21 September.

The document on promoting the use of renewable energy sources was signed by the V4 and by the agriculture ministers of Bulgaria and Romania. The draft legislation on renewable energy sources, which will be adopted by the EU member states’ ministers responsible for energy, would restrict the use of traditional, feed-based biofuels after 2020, and this could have a major effect on agriculture and cause market fluctuations. The joint statement draws attention to the fact that the European Commission’s proposal on renewable energies would to all intents and purposes put an end to the existing dependable, market-based purchasing of crops from maize and rape famers, which would affect over 2 million tons of maize in Hungary alone.

“It is vitally important to Hungary and to the whole Central and Eastern European region that the maize and rapeseed competitively produced here is also processed within the region. This would enable us to tangibly contribute to the fight against climate change”, Mr. Czerván highlighted.

The agreement on the furthering of BIOEAST cooperation was signed by the countries of the Visegrád Group, and by the agriculture ministers of Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia. With relation to the agreement, the Minister of State stressed that it is another important milestone in the life of the Central and Eastern European macro-region. “It is a common goal for our countries to play a more active role in the realisation of research and innovation activities relating to the biomass-based economy of the European Research Area”, he added. The BIOEAST (Central and Eastern European Initiative for Knowledge-based Agricultural Economy, Aquaculture and Forestry within the Biomass Economy) initiative launched last year by the Ministry of Agriculture is aimed at expanding both specific research topic areas and research opportunities that affect the region.

On a joint Slovakian and Czech initiative, the agriculture ministers also discussed the “Equal Quality Products for Everyone” summit meeting held in Bratislava on 13 October 2017, which in addition to the prime ministers of the V4 countries was also attended by several EU commissioners and representatives from every EU member state. Mr. Czerván stressed that the measures introduced so far with relation to dual food quality point in the right direction, but that the V4 continues to regard the introduction of EU-level regulations as the most expedient solution. “According to the standpoint of the Hungarian Government, clear legal frameworks are required to ensure that differing quality products that deceive consumers cannot be placed on the market, for which suitable opportunities for action must also be developed for the relative authorities”, the Minister of State said.

(Ministry of Agriculture Press Office)