'Smaller livestock with EU subsidy to improve animal welfare'

Countries that want to reduce their livestock could apply for EU subsidies to improve animal welfare. In the new biodiversity and animal welfare eco-schemes, EU money has been released to expand animal habitats, said Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski. 

Although his observation letter on the submitted national strategic plans (NSPs) for the new agricultural policy was not formally on the agenda, Wojciechowski said he held bilateral talks with at least five ministers on Tuesday. He thus responded to questions from reporters after the LNV ministerial meeting in Brussels last Tuesday.

The Agriculture Commissioner did not say which ministers he has spoken to in the corridors, but previous national media reports have made it clear that in agricultural circles, especially in Germany, Sweden, France, Poland and Spain, his 'recommendations' had not gone down well.

Dutch minister Henk Staghouwer told Dutch reporters afterwards that the NSPs were not on the agenda and had not been discussed. He emphasized that the Netherlands supports the course taken by the European Commission for Green Deal and GLB.

Wojciechowski pointed out afterwards that many of the NSPs submitted had been submitted before the outbreak of the Russian war against Ukraine, and that the food situation is now very different. Moreover, the cost increase leads to the need for updating and adjustment. That does not apply to some countries, but to all 27, he noted.

In the assessment letter, the European Commission not only calls for more specific environmental and climate goals of the Green Deal in their strategic plan. Brussels is also urging research into options for reducing agricultural dependence on Russian energy and fertilizers.

Moreover, it applies to all countries that it is the first time that they have to work with the new system of 'national implementation of Europe-wide rules'. Moreover, in some countries their NSPs have been submitted by previous ministers and governments that have since resigned. This applies, for example, to Germany. The new minister Cem Özdemir 'welcomed' the Brussels recommendations for tightening up.