Optimistically into the future of the EU – Boosting the European model of sustainable agriculture

4th Annual European Conference „Peace and Agriculture“ in Varna, Bulgaria September 27th-2 9th 2017

The Bulgarian National Grain Producers Association and the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Mr. Rumen Porodzanov were the hosts of the annual European Conference for „Peace and Agriculture“, now for the 4th time, at the black sea health resort Varna. The hotel „Atlanta“ welcomed the guests with a view of a rough sea. This year’s conference was well attended. Twelve middle European countries were taking part and this was a testament to the unique format and the network itself. All of the participating countries are united by their membership in the European Union, after a decades full of experiences of separation behind the Iron Curtain.

Over 90 participants from all twelve partner countries were there – just like in the previous years representatives from agricultural ministries as well as civic organisations joined the conference.

The German delegation included the German ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Mr. Herbert Salber. He was the representative of the patron of the PeaceBread project, the German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Christian Schmidt. The civic side consisted of the chairman Adalbert Kienle as well as the managing office of the PeaceBread association Dr. Marion Schenk and managing director Dr. Gibfried Schenk; also the representative of the supporting member BASF Crop Protection Central Europe, Mrs. Vania Gotcheva and Christian Horn, Robert Knitter and Rüdiger Pelikan from the documentary film team, FILMART Potsdam.

Three representatives from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) were also there: this time (fr.ri.) Dr. Volker Petersen (Germany), Dr. Piroska Kallay (Hungary) und John Bryan (Ireland), here with Adalbert Kienle (le.).

Lots of joy about the reunion of the, by now, very well connected European PeaceBread community People know each other:

The conference began on September 28th. Minister Rumen Porodzanov (2nd from le.) and the chairman of the national Bulgarian Grain Producers Association (NGPA), Mr. Svetoslav Rusalov (2nd from ri.), welcomed the guests. Mrs. Nataliya Shukadarova (NGPA, le.) presented the event.

The main focus of the professional event lay on sustainable agricultural management as well as the future form of the joint agricultural policy after 2020. The presentation of the current opinion of the EESC by the Irish rapporteur John Bryan received great attention.

It was the consensus view, that revolutionary changes are not needed and tolerated by the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Being equipped with secure financial support is a major issue, direct payments are, notwithstanding of diverse national interests, an absolute urgency. The CAP must pay special attention to new challenges like climate and soil protection. Another major issue was the simplification of EU regulations. Non-agricultural large-scale investors need to be excluded when it comes to land acquisition, because of the negative consequences for the rural areas.

All political representatives of the countries delegations gave their opinion on the matter:

The political part of the event was followed by a short summary and a look-out to the civic part of the conference on September 29th, given by the managing director of the PeaceBread Association Dr. Gibfried Schenk.

Minister Porodzanov was being interviewed diligently:

Atmosphere and impressions:

The hosts invited everyone before the official PeaceBread ceremony to a tour through the former summer residence of the Bulgarian Tsar by the Black Sea „Euxinograd“. It was build at the end of the 19th century.

A wonderful ceremony to celebrate this year’s PeaceBread followed. A lot of joy and emotions:

A wonderful idea of the hosts: Every country gets a PeaceBread placed on the map of Europe:

The PeaceBread of 2017 is blessed and solemnly given to the partners from Estonia and Latvia, the hosts of 2018´s conference.

With music and dance the impressive PeaceBread ceremony comes to an end:

On Friday September 29th, the civic representatives of the partner countries met for a concluding workshop. Two panels discussed the topics:

1) Exchange of experiences in the partner countries about the time in-between the annual conferences.

2) Who are we and what values are we connecting with PeaceBread.

Lots of thanks to our Bulgarian hosts!

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