Guild member Philip Case, deputy news editor of Farmers Weekly, gained valuable insights into the workings of EU agricultural politics during a study tour to Belgium.
He joined fellow agricultural journalists from across Europe for discussions with farming leaders from DG Agri (the European Commission’s agricultural directorate) and he heard the latest news on CAP reform from fellow Guild member Roger Waite (pictured centre above), the official spokesman for EU Commissioner Dacian Ciolos.
“I was really privileged to be given an intriguing look behind the scenes at the workings of agri-politics at EU level,” says Philip. “It was a fantastic opportunity to network with other journalists, meet farming experts and generate news stories on the future direction of agricultural research and policy.”
The three-day tour culminated with visits to a Belgian pig farm and a new state-of-the-art cheese factory built by Belgomilk, a major milk processor in Belgium. There was also time to pay respects to the thousands of soldiers killed in the First World War during a visit to the war cemetery and museum at Passchendaele.
The event was arranged in conjunction with the German and Belgian guilds by the European Network of Agricultural Journalists (ENAJ), a new organisation that encourages improved communications between DG Agri and agricultural journalists and broadcasters in Europe. Opportunities for taking part in such visits are made known through the British Guild’s monthly eAlerts and on the website.
Guild members can keep up to date with news of EU agri-politics by registering to use the Ag-Press.eu website, where there is also a section on ENAJ news and activities. Two video reports on Philip’s study tour are posted i the ENAJ news and events section.
“My recommendation to other Guild members who get the opportunity to join such an ENAJ study tour is to take a good digital camera and a reliable Dictaphone – as well as some effective headache tablets,” says Philip. “There was a strong social aspect to the tour which I wasn’t warned about!”
Video coverage of the event can be seen on the ENAJ page by registered users of the Ag-Press.euwebsite.
Now where do we go? British Guild member Philip Case (third from left) waits for directions from Jan Jakubov (right), European Parliament press officer for agriculture and fisheries, before assembling outside the parliament building with fellow young journalists from EU member states. Images: Dr Katharina Seuser, agricultural journalists association of Germany.