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The Minister of Agriculture and Food Kiril Vatev participated in a discussion of EU ministers in Brussels on urgently solving the problems of farmers. The discussion took place on the sidelines of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Brussels, which is taking place against the backdrop of farmers’ protests. The ministers discussed the need for quick and effective responses to the current crisis in the agricultural sector.

Minister Vatev pointed out that in Bulgaria there were also farmer protests and said that the European Commission should make a thorough assessment of the Green Deal legislation and its impact on agriculture in the EU. Alongside this, a reciprocity clause should be included in free trade agreements to ensure that both sides meet identical production standards for food quality and safety. He added that the measures proposed by the EC to reduce the administrative burden for farmers are a step in the right direction, but he believes that they could be more ambitious.

Minister Vatev commented regarding conditionality that a comprehensive review of the requirements of all standards for maintaining land in good agricultural and ecological condition and their ecological benefit against the background of climate change dynamics, market imbalances and economic sustainability of the food sector.
He said that we support the amendment of Good agricultural and environmental conditions (GAEC 1), which will relieve livestock breeders to some extent in the context of restructuring their activities. With regard to GAEC 6, Vatev added that Bulgaria supports the proposal to review possible agricultural practices to ensure protection of soils with plant cover.

Bulgaria continues to insist on the revision of GAECEU 7 and 8 in 2024 as well, considering that diversification has no less role than rotation in achieving the environmental objective of the standards, while at the same time controlling it administratively is more acceptable.He stressed that a number of administrative measures could be taken in the short term, with one of the priority measures being to postpone the deadline by which the Area Monitoring System should be completely operational.

The minister pointed out that in the face of increasing challenges, the EU needs a stable system to guarantee security of supply and food availability for citizens, as well as the livelihood of farmers. In this regard, it is essential to achieve equalization in the levels of direct payments.

“Bulgaria expresses its readiness for assistance in the upcoming process of simplification and we expect concrete proposals from the EC for each of the mentioned measures in order to compensate the losses of the farmers”, Minister Vatev said in conclusion.

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