President Juncker to open "Agricultural Outlook" Conference

Source: Ph. (Phil) Hogan i, published on Friday, December 2 2016.

Next week the second annual "Agricultural Outlook" conference takes place in Brussels. This is a large-scale event to assess the state of EU agriculture and the global challenges which lie ahead, like the environment and climate change.

I am delighted that EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will deliver the opening speech of the Conference, and he and I will be making some important announcements for the future of the CAP.

We need to do things differently if we want European agriculture to achieve its full potential in the 21st Century.

When I became Commissioner two years ago, a number of European agri-food sectors were entering a period of real difficulty. A perfect storm of negative factors - such as the Russian ban on EU food imports, the plunging global commodity market, and the slowdown of Chinese growth - all contributed to a severe price crisis, most severely in the dairy and pigmeat sectors.

The Commission's swift and decisive actions have been effective in relation to their expected goals, notably market stabilisation and cash-flow relief for farmers. In total, more than €1 billion has been mobilised in the form of emergency measures over this 2-year period.

Now I want to put building blocks in place to reduce the likelihood of a similar crisis happening in the future.

I am working on an Omnibus Proposal which includes a sector specific income stabilisation tool, simpler rules to help farmers access credit, and stronger support for Producer Organisations. All these proposals respond directly to the concerns of farmers, and I want them to become effective from January 1st 2018.

As mentioned last week, I established the Agricultural Markets Task Force to find new and better solutions to restore balance to our food chain, and strengthen the position of farmers.

In parallel with this work at home, I have been travelling the world to find new markets for our products abroad.

I am calling on all stakeholders in the agri-food sector to support me in these challenges. Today I told the European Dairy Platform about my work to make the European agri-food market more sustainable and more resilient.

Farmers, industry and policymakers all need to take their share of responsibility to do things differently if we are to make the sector more resilient and sustainable.

Managing our market responsibly requires unity and clarity of purpose - everyone needs to be fully on board.