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The EU promotion policy - outlook from Poland

Published: 13/05/2022

We spoke to the Polish Ministry for Agriculture to find out how they view the EU’s promotion policy and the outlook for the future.

Potential, negative effects of introducing by the European Commission a review of the eligibility of products within the EU promotion policy, which could be related to the exclusion of certain sectors e.g. meat and wine from support.

In compliance with Article 26 par. 2 of the Regulation (EU) No. 1144/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council on information provision and promotion measures concerning agricultural products implemented in the internal market and in third countries, the European Commission submitted to the European Parliament and the Council a Report on the application of this Regulation together with any appropriate proposals. In the evaluation of the promotion policy, its effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value of the reformed policy of the EU agriculture promotion were studied. Conclusions in the report indicate that the promotion policy has had an overall positive impact in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value, but also indicates areas in need of special attention due to the existing shortcomings and future priorities.

The EC published an introduction to the evaluation of effects, which implies as follows:

“The aim of the EU Agricultural Promotion policy is to increase the awareness of the qualities of EU food products and enhance the competitiveness of the Union’s agricultural sector. A recent evaluation of the policy found that it has broadly achieved its objectives. While the evaluation noticed no major inconsistencies with other EU policies, it observed that the promotion policy could be better aligned with political priorities and contribute in particular to the objectives of the “Farm to Fork” strategy.

This assessment aims to enhance its contribution to sustainable production and consumption, in line with evolving diets, while maintaining or even increasing the policy’s effectiveness in supporting the agrifood sector’s competitiveness.”

Therefore, in the introduction to the assessment of effects the EC indicated the following policy options:

  1. Building on the current success: continuing the EU promotion policy on the grounds of the currently binding provisions, including the EC guidelines constituting technical guidance to applicants and evaluators, as well as selection and evaluation criteria (re-assessed every year) taking into account adjustment of promotion programmes to the “Farm to Fork” Strategy objectives (and/or with other future policy developments).
  2. Focus the policy scope: on the EU internal market, focusing on the promotion and information measures in support of sustainable agricultural production and consumption, in line with the “Farm to Fork” Strategy and Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, nudging consumers to healthier diets. Whereas, in the case of promotion and information measures implemented on non-EU markets the support would be more centred on the international dimension of the “Farm to Fork” and the EU agrifood sector’s competitiveness.
  3. Review conditionality/eligibility: this scenario could entail the introduction of new conditionality requirements and eligibility criteria that incentivise applicants to undertake promotional and information measures, which would implement the objectives of the “Farm to Fork” strategy. Such an approach could be related with the exclusion of certain sectors (e.g. meat and wine) from support.

The main objective of the EU promotion policy is to “ensure competitiveness of all agricultural products of the EU”. The promotion policy may contribute to enhancing sustainability of the EU food system, but primarily it is a policy of agricultural competitiveness.

The EU is ranked first in the scope of the world export of pork, eight in the world export of beef and third in the world export of poultry (European Commission’s data).

Strong promotion policy enhances competitiveness of EU agriculture and thus, the production and consumption of more sustainable products due to the high standards of the EU. If we stop promoting EU products such as e.g. meat, consumers will reach for similar products outside the EU of significantly lower standards.

Considering ensuring optimisation of the EU promotion policy’s contribution to sustainable development, with a preservation of competitiveness of the EU agrifood products, the following elements should be taken into account:

  • the current focus of the promotion policy on the objectives resulting from the EC strategy shows that it is flexible to such an extent that it can react on an ongoing basis to the EC’s needs resulting from other policies, for example this year’s work programme, so-called 2022 Annual Work Programme. Topics presented therein do not exclude any products or sectors, and almost 38% of the budget is allocated to the promotion of sustainable agriculture and ecology, which is in line with the direction of changes in the food economy, related to the European Green Deal;
  • the EU promotion policy should be inclusive – it should not exclude any products or sectors;
  • all sustainable agricultural practices should be equally supported in order to maximise the promotion policy contribution to sustainable development.

In Poland’s opinion it is justified to continue the EU promotion policy on the grounds of currently binding provisions and with the assumption of adjusting operational priorities to objectives resulting from other policies of the European Union.

The option that assumes a review of the conditionality/eligibility, which may result in complete exclusion of certain sectors (e.g. meat, wine) from support, raises firm opposition.