Farmers’ crisis discussed at Agriculture and Fisheries Council – Member States unanimous about improving farmers’ situation

News - Published 28.2.2024

The EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council convened to discuss the current crisis in the European agricultural sector. The EU agriculture ministers strongly support both fast and long-term action to improve farmers’ situation.

Farmers’ situation is critical all around Europe. This has led to wide protests in many countries. There are numerous causes for the challenging situation faced by farmers, and finding solutions to these requires decisions on the EU level.

The reasons for farmers’ frustration include strict environmental regulations, the growing gap between the reality on farms and the national and European legislation, too complex legislation, and the need to simplify administration.

Among the key factors are also low producer prices and the need for more just income distribution in the food chain, unequitable playing field between the EU products and imports, and small numbers of transfers of farms to the next generation.

The EU agriculture ministers convened at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 26 February to discuss both fast and structural solutions to improve farmers’ situation. Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sari Essayah represented Finland at the meeting.

Finland supports extensive measures to improve farmers’ situation

The EU agriculture ministers were unanimous about the need to find the necessary solutions to ease the situation of farmers. The ministers stressed the important role of agriculture in society, including in terms of food security and the strategic autonomy of Europe.

“Both fast action and long-term efforts are needed to respond to the situation. The support system must be developed and simplified in such a way that agricultural support payments are targeted to actual food production better than at present,” says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sari Essayah. 

“In my opinion, measures that ease the farmers’ burden caused by controls and sanctions are highly important. More flexibility should also be allowed with respect to advance payments of aid as the financial situation of farmers is often the most critical in early autumn.”
The Commission and Member States are prepared to introduce implementing rules to make changes to the Common Agricultural Policy and to increase flexibility in the Commission’s guidelines. Actions on the EU level to strengthen the position of producers in the food chain won wide support as well. In the discussion, the Agriculture Commissioner also suggested that certain elements of the basic regulations of the Common Agricultural Policy could be opened for consideration. The ministers welcomed the suggestion with an open mind.

“It should be easier for the Member States to make changes to their CAP Strategic Plans. In view of the future CAP, more flexible ways to react to crisis situations should also be considered,” Minister Essayah says.

Iina Mattila, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 50 473 6221
Kari Valonen, Senior Specialist, tel. +32 473 525 630

Press release from Finland’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 28.2.2024