In today’s session of the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions, the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) jointly with Terre de Liens will present the petition “Preserving and managing farmland as our common wealth”.

 
This petition, which was promoted by the European Coordination Via Campesina and Terre de Liens, has been signed by about 80 organisations from across Europe, and was declared eligible last February- a year after it was submitted. The document highlights how access to land is denied by multiple factors and the alarming rate at which farmland is disappearing throughout Europe, a fact that places the EU among the most unequal zones in terms of land distribution. To face this problem, farmer and other civil society organisations are asking, among other things, the institutions of the European Union to adopt a new Directive on land based on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land in the context of food security, as well as radically reform direct payments in the CAP and that the impact of EU policies affecting land use and allocation be reviewed.

 

The hearing, albeit likely to be rather formal and short, will be an opportunity to reiterate to EU decision makers the urgency to take action on a fairer way to manage farmland. Sjoerd Wartena from Terre de liens and Marta di Pierro from the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) and AIAB will present the petition before the Petition Committee (PETI).

 

They will ask for the petition’s requests to be further explored in the own-initiative report of the AGRI Committee.

 

The preservation of small-holder farming in Europe is among the main points defended. The signatories point to the Commission’s own statement declaring that “the aim of the CAP is not to privilege one unique model of farming but rather to maintain the rich diversity of farms and types of production in Europe”. If this is so, ECVC and its allies argue, “given the fast disappearance of peasant and small-holder farming, urgent action is needed to support the maintenance of this form of agriculture which is not only the cornerstone of European food security but also embodies, in its lifestyles and crafts, an essential dimension of European culture.”

 

The signatory organisations are thus hoping to obtain follow-up actions, within PETI and other committees so as to keep engaging with the Parliament on these issues.

 

It is worth remembering that the petition was submitted to PETI as a way to put land issues on the agenda of EU institutions. While when ECVC and Terre de liens submitted it there was almost no talk about agricultural land in the EP, the context is now more favourable. The AGRI Committee indeed recently approved the writing of an own initiative report on “access to land”, whose first draft should be presented by the rapporteur Maria Noich (SD/ Germany) in September or October.

 

The hearing will take place at 15h00 on Wednesday 13/07. You can follow the discussion live on streaming here.

 

You can find ECVC’s and Terre de liens’ statement here

 

Contact press:

 

Marta di Pierro : (+32) 488 32 65 88