The Slovenia Times

Slovenia Raises Concerns over TTIP in Brussels


"I outlined to him my own and general understanding in Slovenia that agriculture is on defensive, that we don't expect some benefit from the agreement but we see risks," Židan told reporters after the meeting.

Slovenia's position in discussion on the free-trade agreement between the EU and the US in the field of agriculture is that there should be no reduction in EU standards concerning food safety and quality, environmental protection and consumer protection.

The country also advocates preserving the principle of caution in approval of new technologies and such a harmonisation of requirements that provides for a higher level of consumer protection, protection of people's and animals' health and the environment, and respecting other legitimate factors in decision making.

Slovenia is also against limiting EU member states' discretion to ban or curb the cultivation, placing on the market and labelling of genetically-modified products, including products from cloned animals, the use of growth hormones or prohibition of meat decontamination with chlorine solutions.

Židan said the commissioner assured him that there should be no deviation from EU standards in those fields. He invited the commissioner to Slovenia to make the same assurance to everyone concerned about the issues in Slovenia.

Židan said that the US's chief intention in TTIP talks in agriculture is clearly to ensure exports of maize, soy and meat. In negotiations on a free trade agreement with Canada, the EU has had some critical farming products excluded and quotas imposed for others. "We expect similar solutions with America, if the agreement is reached at all," Židan said.

He added that a person had been selected to be operatively responsible for the protection of Slovenia's agricultural interests in talks on the TTIP, announcing a bill that would enable Slovenia's exclusion in the registration phase.

The commissioner and Židan also discussed biosafety, that is the use of measures to reduce the scope for the transmission of diseases in cattle farming. It is part of the efforts to reduce the use of antimicrobial medicinal products in farming to protect the drugs for people.

Židan also took part in a meeting of EU agriculture ministers, who discussed a plant bacterium currently affecting olive trees (Xylella fastidiosa) and has been present in southern Italy since 2013.

Židan said that Slovenia was concerned about the potential spread of three diseases from Italy, the bacteria as well as the bluetongue disease and the small hive beetle. He said bluetongue was also present in Croatia and Hungary.

The minister also underscored Slovenia's expectation for the European Commission to closely monitor the situation on the milk market and act if necessary with appropriate measures as milk quotas are being phased out.


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