During the 54th Salon Internationale de l'Agriculture in Paris - France's premier showcase for farming and rural areas - I confirmed the creation of new market observatories and discussed the future of the CAP.
France is Europe's agricultural powerhouse, and in my meetings with all the main French agri-food stakeholders, as well as during my very constructive meeting with French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, I listened carefully to their concerns, assuring them of my commitment to ensure that we have a CAP that gives them the tools to more effectively deal with the kind of market volatility they have experienced during the last two years.
Two Market Observatories are already in place for Milk and Meat and have proven to be useful tools to guarantee market transparency and market analysis.
I have listened carefully to the calls from farmers in the arable crops sector on the need to monitor this market more closely, given the importance of the sector for EU agriculture - not least here in France - and the forthcoming end of the quota regime in the sugar sector.
I was pleased, therefore, to reassure the farmers' organisations I met today that I have initiated the process of creating two new Market Observatories Crops (Cereals, Oilseeds, Protein crops) and for Sugar. Both should be in place before the summer of 2017.
Building upon the positive experience of the existing Market Observatories, the activities of these two new Observatories for Crops and for Sugar will focus on the same two core objectives of market data dissemination and short-term market analysis.
In the course of my meeting with the farm groups, I encouraged them and their members to participate fully in the public consultation on the modernisation and simplification of the CAP, which I launched four weeks ago and which remains open for a further eight weeks. Already, we have received in excess of 11 000 responses.
I was also particularly pleased to have the opportunity to visit the stand of the FNSEA and participate in a short tribute to their late President, Xavier Beulin, whose untimely and sudden death ten days ago stunned us all. It was an opportunity to express my sympathy to the members of the FNSEA, which Mr Beulin led with such distinction and effectiveness. Xavier was also a committed pro-European who believed in a strong and well-funded CAP. He is a great loss to France and Europe.