Claude Haagen (Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development): Planting the Seeds of Sustainability
“I have a pragmatic view of Luxembourg's and Europe's agricultural policies, which must strike a fair balance between economy and ecology”, clarifies Claude Haagen, Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development in Luxembourg. In this interview, he details the next steps for the sector to reach sustainability and profitability.
Can you describe your background in a few words?
I have been active in the LSAP party for more than 30 years and I joined the coalition government on January 5, 2022, following the resignation of Romain Schneider. Before that, I was mayor of the city of Diekirch and, in turn, municipal councilor, alderman, and mayor between 2003 and 2022. As three times elected Member of Parliament in 2009, 2013, and 2018, I value parliamentary work and the transparent dialogue between the Government and the Chamber of Deputies. Between 2014 and 2019, I chaired the LSAP. Before entering politics, I taught economic and social sciences at the Technical High School in Ettelbruck.
“Our TNS Ilres market study of 2021 confirmed that 93% of households appreciate the good quality of Luxembourg's agricultural products”
What is your vision for the Ministry of Agriculture?
The Grand Duchy is characterized by a strong agricultural tradition, with half of our country covered by agricultural land. Family-run farms, horticulture, and wine-growing are the driving force of this sector. We must therefore ensure their viability and support the sector. I am aiming for an "agriculture+" that is based on the three pillars of ecology, economy, and society, and that is characterized by sustainability, quality, and diversity. Our TNS Ilres market study of 2021 confirmed that 93% of households appreciate the good quality of Luxembourg's agricultural products and my ministry will continue to promote consumption from short and seasonal circuits through our awareness campaigns and educational projects. Other priorities include the transposition of the new CAP in Luxembourg through our national strategic plan and the new agrarian law, the development of a coherent food policy, the development of organic farming, the diversification of agriculture, the support for innovation and new forms of agriculture, and the fight against food waste.
How would you define Luxembourg's agricultural policy at the European level?
As an economist, I have a pragmatic view of Luxembourg's and Europe's agricultural policies, which must strike a fair balance between economy and ecology. The European framework of the Common Agricultural Policy is essential for our farmers, but we have always demanded certain flexibility to implement it and adapt it to the specific context of our country. Our current national strategic plan includes the following objectives: to guarantee a fair level of income for agricultural producers, to provide more targeted support for cattle, vegetable, and fruit farmers, to reserve 25% of direct payments for environmental and climate protection programs, and to support young and new farmers.