Spain’s re-appointed minister for agriculture, Luis Planas, has promised to proceed to prioritise the triangle of “youth and girls, water and digitalisation”, signalling that, in his third time period in workplace, he’ll persist with his established course.
“My first purpose is to make sure that, on this transition to sustainability, our farms are worthwhile,” Planas instructed the Spanish Senate on 21 November in his first look since being re-appointed.
Just lately re-elected socialist prime minister Pedro Sánchez has put Planas in control of the agriculture ministry for the third time, amid challenges resembling Spain’s extreme droughts, rising costs and an absence of generational renewal in farming.
“If there are not any younger individuals and no ladies there isn’t a future,” Planas instructed Spanish lawmakers.
On this sense, placing ahead a legislation on household farming and a nationwide meals technique to advertise rural employment and enhance dietary patterns “would be the principal strains of motion to modernise the agricultural and fishing sector”, stated Planas a couple of days later, throughout the first assembly of the brand new agriculture ministry.
He pledged to enhance irrigation methods, promote ecological and regenerative agriculture, and make progress in decarbonising and renewing the Spanish fisheries fleet.
On the EU stage, Planas now faces the ultimate stretch of Spain’s bittersweet presidency of the EU Council which can finish on 31 December.
Key priorities just like the approval of a pesticide discount framework – turned down by the European Parliament final week – and the regulation of latest genomic methods (NGTs) – a difficulty on which EU nations are break up – will probably stay unresolved.
Planas will chair the final Agrifish Council on 10, 11, and 12 December, when EU ministers are additionally anticipated to hash out divergences between the Fee and member states on subsequent yr’s nationwide fish quotas.
“Spain, as presidency, has to assist attain a[n] settlement,” stated Planas, “however (…) because the main fishing nation within the EU, we will even have pursuits that will probably be defended”.
Spain has the biggest fisheries fleet within the EU when it comes to tonnage and has historically had a powerful say on EU fishery insurance policies.
On the horizon for Planas is Spain’s 2024 report back to the EU Fee on the efficiency of its nationwide strategic plan for the Widespread Agriculture Coverage (CAP), which the EU government will evaluation the next yr.
Across the similar time, negotiations in regards to the new post-2027 CAP are anticipated to take off, and Planas should defend Spain’s pursuits within the talks.
Combined emotions on a 3rd Planas time period
The Spanish Union of small farmers (UPA) welcomed Planas’ “huge” expertise and reappointment, however stated a few of his guarantees “are pressing measures that the Spanish countryside has been awaiting for a lot too lengthy”.
UPA known as for extra dialogue with farmers and “an actual and efficient utility” of the meals provide legislation – which goals at reaching extra balanced and clear commerce relations within the worth chain.
However, Spain’s Younger Farmers’ Affiliation ASAJA stated Planas has been “probably the most pernicious minister (…) because the creation of democracy”.
Asaja criticised the “very unfavourable impact” of the CAP in Spain’s southern area of Andalusia and Planas’ “poor defence of the sector in opposition to third nations”.
Amongst different issues, Planas has been an avid defender of the EU-Mercosur commerce deal, which has additionally been a precedence for the Spanish Council presidency within the context of its ambition to place relations with Latin American nations centre stage in Brussels.
“If Europe doesn’t do it, others will,” he instructed Euractiv in a current interview referring to a commerce deal between the EU and the Mercosur nations, though acknowledging the complexity of the negotiations.
Nonetheless, some farmers’ associations, together with ASAJA, have come out in opposition to the deal and worry an inflow of third-country foodstuff produced at decrease requirements that may crowd out home producers.
[Edited by Gerardo Fortuna/Nathalie Weatherald]
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