b'WHAT DOES THE BELGIAN PRESIDENCY HAVE IN STORE FOR AGRICULTURE?I n recent years, we have felt the impact of a rap- have to prove its efficacy in the future. In Europe, idly changing global environment. Our securitythe negotiations on the Nature Restoration Act were is under pressure due to the Russian invasion ofextremely difficult but now a final agreement seems Ukraine, the flaring conflict in the Middle East, thelikely to be approved. The impact of this agreement tense relationship with China, economic uncertaintyon Flanders will have to be monitored very closely due to high energy prices and inflationwith all itsif we want to avoid a permit freeze.consequences for food security, and finally, pressureThe Belgian presidency coincides with the end on our European competitiveness. Farmers feel theof the mandate, providing an opportunity to take effects of this conflict and uncertainty. stock. We cannot help but notice that the agriculture On the one hand, Europe has acted decisivelypart of the Green Deal was much more challenging this mandate with an ambitious agenda. With thethan the climate part. The expansion of the emissions By: Tom Vandenkendelaere Green Deal, we want to anchor the transition totrading scheme (ETS), the introduction of a carbon a competitive economy that contributes to climateborder tax, and the creation of a social climate fund neutrality. A wide range of legislation has beenunder the Fit-for-55 package came about smoothly. greenlighted this legislature to realise these ambi- Much more difficult were the Nature Restoration tions. The next phase will be at least as important:Act and the Pesticide Regulation to roll out the namely implementation. And I believe this is pre- farm-to-fork strategy. As far as I am concerned, the cisely one of the sticking points. The cumulativenew genomic technology file will be a major priority effect of this legislationthink about the emissionfor the Belgian presidency, provided the EU Council reduction targets but also the uncertainty around adiscussions on it do not completely bog down. In my European nature restoration law and the complexview, this file offers an opportunity to reach more Flemish licensing issue because of the implementa- consensus after the difficult political debates we have tion of the Habitats Directivecreates uncertaintyseen so far. After all, biotech has the potential to be among farmers. embraced as a full-fledged tool in agriculture, both The European Parliament has consistentlyon the farmer side and on the environmental side.argued from the beginning of this mandate to leg- Looking even further ahead, the future review islate with farmers instead of overriding them, andof the CAP in autumn 2024 will be an important to take a legislative break so that businesses canmilestone to anchor a real long-term vision that catch their breath to achieve all of Europes green,takes farmers concerns into account at European, digital and industrial goals in the coming years.Belgian and Flemish levels. After all, I see that this The European Commission is quietly starting tois the most pressing issue, both on the farmers field pick up this signal and wants to reduce reportingand in the policy itself, which is constantly con-obligations by at least 25 per cent in the comingfronted with the changing climate and within the years and launch sectoral dialogues, including withbroader geopolitical framework. Europes enlarge-agriculture. This is a first step in the right directionment to include Ukraine and other candidate coun-to better coordinate the legislative burden and givetries will also be an important part of this balancing companies more investment and business security. act. Indeed, the impact on agricultural policy will In Belgium and especially in Flanders, manurebe enormous. Finally, we must not forget the mental and nitrogen dominate the discussion on agriculture.well-being of our farmers. Being a farmer requires a As for the manure action plan, we saw a unique real- lot of drive. Farmers produce something that every isation by, for the first time, letting agricultural andhuman being needs three times a day. This deserves environmental organisations work out an agreementrespect, including in our policy.among themselves. However, this agreement is now shakier than ever. For nitrogen, we ended up with anEditors Note: Tom Vandenkendelaere is Member of the agreement that was very difficult to reach and willEuropean Parliament for cd&v-EPPSEEDWORLD.COM/EUROPEISEED WORLD EUROPE I 17'