Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture Andreas Gregoriou stressed the need for regional cooperation between Member States as well as third countries in response to natural disasters, in the wake of the floods in Greece and Slovenia and fires in Cyprus, during the meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of the EU which was held in Brussels on Monday, according to an official press release.
During the discussion, Greece and Slovenia referred to the devastating effects of recent extreme weather events on food production and crops. Gregoriou expressed Cyprus' full support and solidarity towards the two countries, stressing the need to support those affected, and supported Greece's suggestion for an in-depth discussion to address such disasters immediately and effectively.
He also stressed the importance of focusing on prevention and the establishment of regional cooperation centres, noting the recent initiative by Cyprus and Jordan to establish a regional firefighting centre, and thanked the EU countries that responded through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism during the recent fires in Cyprus.
During a discussion on the agricultural aspects of the soil health directive, as well as on issues related to trade and the long-term vision for the EU's rural areas, Gregoriou stressed the importance of soil protection, noting that the goal of making all EU soils healthy by 2050 is a major challenge.
More specifically, he noted that objective difficulties and specificities of the Member States should be taken into account in efforts to achieve these goals.
Also, during a discussion on the state of the agricultural market and international food trade, Gregoriou referred to the importance of the EU as a pillar of stability and security, noting the need to support food security, sustainable development and the fight against climate change.
He also stressed the importance of supporting Designation of Origin and Geographical Indication products and defending the EU's strict standards in agreements with third countries. He also reiterated Cyprus' solidarity with Ukraine, noting that the resolution of problems in the EU internal market should be promoted collectively.
In the context of the discussion on the long-term plans for the EU rural areas, the permanent secretary of the ministry expressed Cyprus' support for the Spanish Presidency's objective to draw up conclusions giving political guidance to the member states on the issue.
He stressed the need for targeted measures as well as the participation of local stakeholders, in order to create synergies between EU financial instruments beyond the Common Agricultural Policy. He added that Cyprus is moving forward with measures for mountain communities, through a specific National Development Strategy.
The 27 also discussed the progress of the annual consultations on fishing opportunities for 2024 with the UK, Norway and the North Atlantic coastal states.
In his intervention, Gregoriou expressed Cyprus' support for the Commission's efforts to ensure the sustainable management of fish stocks, with particular reference to the preservation of fishermen's rights in all EU waters, while noting that unilateral actions by third countries should not be accepted, referring particularly to illegal Turkish fishing activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Source: Cyprus News Agency