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Hungary forwards proposals on reducing farmers’ red tape

Hungary has advanced 45 proposals to the Belgian EU presidency on reducing administrative burdens on farmers, Zsolt Feldman, the state secretary for agriculture and rural development, told a press conference in Brussels on Monday.

After a meeting of EU agriculture ministers, Feldman noted that demonstrations by farmers had taken place in 18 member states, and it was only after these protests that the issue of cutting red tape affecting Hungarian and European farmers could be discussed.

At the council meeting, hundreds of proposals from member states were received, he said, adding that a Hungarian priority was for the European Commission to accept the proposals by the end of the year.

The official referred to high production costs in proportion to income, Ukrainian imports that placed farmers in hardship, poor agricultural profitability at the European level, EU conditions that constrained production and bureaucratic verification procedures.

Feldman said the “psychological moment” had come when all European agriculture ministers were trying to relax EU farm rules.

Commenting on the competitive disadvantage European farmers faced due to the influx of cheap farm products from third countries, Feldman noted that European farmers had to adhere to strict regulations, while these did not apply to produce imported from outside the EU.

He called on the EU to stand up for European farmers and ensure a regulatory level playing field.

Feldman also met demonstrating farmers in Brussels and representatives of several European farmer associations.

“Hungary is highly active in looking for European solutions. We’ve taken steps domestically, but now it’s the turn of Brussels as European rules and trade agreements must be handled at the EU level,” he said.

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