Agriculture ministers discussed the progress made so far on implementation of the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030. Ministers also discussed the agricultural, forestry and marine aspects of the proposed nature restoration regulation, as well as the outcome of the EU Bioeconomy Conference 2022. The Commission also presented its communication on fertilisers, explaining the need to ensure the availability and affordability of fertilisers as a basis for food security.
Agriculture ministers discussed the progress made so far on implementation of the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030, as well as measures that could be taken both at national and EU level to enhance its efficiency. Ministers also exchanged views on how to enhance cooperation between the Commission, member states and stakeholders, so as to ensure effective implementation of the strategy and to guarantee an inclusive and coherent forest governance framework in the EU.
Forests and other wooded land cover more than 43.5 % of the EU and are essential for the health and well-being of Europeans. Forests play a key role in our economy and society, creating jobs and providing food, medicine, materials, clean water, and other resources. They are also a natural ally in adapting to and combating climate change. With the rise of climate-change-induced challenges, the Commission put forward a New EU Forest Strategy for 2030 on 16 July 2021, in line with the European Green Deal and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. On 15 November 2021, agriculture ministers adopted conclusions on the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030 and invited the Commission to report annually to the Council on its implementation.
With energy and fertilisers prices rising, it is our duty to do our best to keep food prices across the EU at a reasonable level. To achieve this, it is necessary to secure and stabilise EU fertiliser production and to ensure farmers have access to affordable fertilisers. Russian aggression jeopardises our agricultural production. We must act and enhance our strategic autonomy in the sector to ensure a sufficient harvest next year.
Zdeněk Nekula, Czech minister of agriculture
Finally, ministers exchanged views on the need to promote energy transition in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, and to ensure a strong and sustainable algae sector.