The Swedes have chosen to highlight agriculture and climate change at the informal agricultural council meeting next week. The discussion will be built around three questions:
1. Climate change is of great concern for the future competitiveness of EU agriculture and this challenge is being dealt with at all levels. While the framework is set at EU level, implementation will need to be carried out at farm level.
What should be the role of the EU regarding mitigation and adaptation in agriculture, and, in particular, what should be the key areas of cooperation?
2. An instrument in handling climate change in the agricultural sector is rural development programmes. While climate change is already one of the Community priorities for the current programming period, additional funds were provided that can be targeted to climate relevant actions.
How are these opportunities best utilised and are there any early lessons to be learned?
3. One of many consequences of the changing climate is the increased presence of pathogens and diseases. This is likely to be a main concern for crop, livestock and, at worst, human health. The economic consequences for the sector may be substantial.
How could we further develop our common policy and strategies to best meet the challenges of a changed pattern of dissemination of pathogens and diseases?
What recommendations would readers make to the assembled Ministers?