The Ministers of Agriculture of the European Union will discuss the European model of agriculture and future challenges faced by the sector at an informal meeting in Oulu on 24-26 September 2006. This is a highly topical issue of wide interest throughout Europe, which is why Finland as the Presidency wished to raise it as the main theme to be addressed at the meeting.
The meeting is a unique opportunity to present northern agriculture to the European decision-makers. On Monday 25 September the Ministers will be visiting a Finnish farm and forest site. The informal meeting will be held on Tuesday 26 September. The Special Committee on Agriculture will be convening in Oulu at the same time. Altogether about 300 visitors and 50 journalists are expected to attend the meeting. Pure Finnish food will also play a major role all through the event.
The informal meeting of ministers will be dealing with the European model of agriculture created almost ten years ago and assess its evolvement after the agricultural policy reforms. The objective is, in particular, to look into the challenges ahead in the agriculture sector, where the main theme of the two Presidencies of 2006, Austria and Finland, is the innovative, competitive and sustainable European model of agriculture.
The discussions will be held on the basis of questions put forward by the Presidency to the Member States. One of the topics to be addressed is whether the European model of agriculture truly reflects the common values and principles. The Member States were also requested to assess whether the current common agricultural policy responds to the expectations of societies concerning multifunctionality and to other future challenges. Some of the Member States have already given written answers to the questions, and many European agriculture organisations have also commented on the model. No actual decisions will be made at the meeting.
Over the years the common agricultural policy has undergone several reforms. The European model of agriculture was launched in 1997 in the context of the so-called Agenda 2000 reform to reflect the common European values shared by the Member States.
According to the background document prepared by the Presidency, the sustainable European model of agriculture means agriculture practised in all parts of Europe which is economically, socially and ecologically sustainable and market-oriented. At the same time the model aims for more simple administrative procedures, in spite of the great diversity among the countries and regions of Europe.
Further information at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Mr Pekka Pesonen, State Secretary, tel. +358 (0)9 160 53323, 0400 664 840
Mr Ilkka Ruska, Director-General, tel. +358 (0)9 160 53311, 040 504 0192