Cap funding and UK-EU link key for German EU presidency

Germany will take over the rotating EU Council Presidency in July 2020. It also marks the start of a new trio Presidency, together with Portugal and Slovenia. It has a lot on its plate, with the Covid-19 induced crisis, climate change, and a troubled global trade environment. Overarching global challenges will shape the presidency, the European Dairy Association says, and it is also being called on to deal with the European challenges of the Multiannual Financial Framework, the Farm to Fork calibration and, most importantly, potentially crashing into the Brexit wall on 31 December 2020.

In today’s economic crisis context, the reboot of the European economy will underline that milk and dairy is essential as the economic backbone, especially of rural Europe. The 12,000 processing sites across the Union assure 300,000 jobs in Europe – essential for society.

The European Green Deal and the digital sustainable transformation are two other important and central issues on the agenda of the German presidency. The negotiations on the 2021-2027 financial framework, and the EU‘s trade policy (eg. finalisation of the Brexit negotiations) are also important items.

It will be of crucial importance that any EU policy is always conducted under the premise of the EU single market. This great achievement of the EU must be born in mind by EU policy makers in all areas, but also be reflected in domestic policies. As a big exporting country, Germany is dependent on a functioning single market, where there is no place for protectionist tendencies and gastro-nationalism. This is especially relevant when it comes to initiatives on mandatory origin labelling, which lead to a renationalisation of raw material flows and segregated markets and products. To address potential consumer interests, a voluntary and EU- harmonised approach is the right direction. The same goes for any mandatory front-of-pack simplified nutrition label. It is important that such claims are harmonised at EU level, but their application should always remain voluntary. This should be kept in mind in the framework of the upcoming discussions on the Farm -to-Fork Strategy on a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system.

A successful free trade agreement between the EU and the UK is another important aspect for Germany’s dairy association, MIV. A hard Brexit on 1 January 2021 must be avoided by all means. Zero duty-zero quota approach must be ensured to allow for the continuation of frictionless trade between the two trading blocks. Common standards and a level playing field are key to ensure fair competitive conditions for both sides. Border checks should be reduced to an absolute minimum to allow trade to continue smoothly.

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