The EU is investing EUR 10 billion in research programs to support the modernisation of the agricultural sector
- Commissioner Phil Hogan
Nestled into the heart of the striking Ponta Delgada, on São Miguel Island, the capital of the Azores archipelago of Portugal, a bunch of citizens met Commissioner Phil Hogan to discuss agricultural reform. In a packed room at the Associação Agrícola de São Miguel, the Citizens’ Dialogue revolved mostly around the proposed changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and agriculture in even the most remote regions of the EU.
This Dialogue marked the third time this month that Commissioner Phil Hogan has participated in events on Portuguese agriculture. The Commissioner has previously attended the National Agriculture Fair in Santarém, an event in Brussels and, today, the Citizens' Dialogue, in Azores. João Ponte, Regional Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry stated that the Dialogue with Commissioner Phil Hogan is seen as a sign of hope for Azorean farmers, and as an opportunity for the Commissioner to see how agriculture is done in the outermost regions.
icking off the debate, Jorge Rita, President of the São Miguel Agricultural Association stated that more European support is needed to promote convergence and social cohesion in the Azores. He continued that agriculture has an economic weight in the Azores that is absolutely irreplaceable. In turn, Commissioner Phil Hogan promised that the Azores won't be left on the side-lines, and explained the context of Brexit and its influence over the newly proposed budget post 2020. He highlighted that we need unanimous support from the Member States for the CAP. Some countries argue that we should have less money for the CAP. More Europe doesn't mean more money. We must find a balance, explained the Commissioner. With a budget of 365 billion euros, the proposals of the European Commission shall ensure that the CAP remains a policy prepared for the future, and that it continues to support farmers and rural communities.
MEP Sofia Ribeiro also took part in the discussion on the future of the CAP, stating that it makes sense that in the 2nd pillar of the newly proposed CAP there must be a specific program for the outermost regions. Responding to this, Commissioner Phil Hogan mentioned the European Commission’s proposals for the simplification of the CAP. To cap off the Dialogue, the Commissioner highlighted the importance of technological advancements in agriculture and that 10 billion euros from the EU's research program Horizon Europe will be reserved for research and innovation projects in the food sector, in agriculture, in rural development and on bio-economy.