From the 24-26th of March in Brussels, ECVC held its General Assembly. ECVC’s GA is customarily the space where members exchange views and develop collectively the political strategy of the movement for the months to come. This year, however, celebration was in the air of the GA, Delegates from across Europe rejoiced the UN adoption, back in December 2018, of the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. This milestone marked the opening Mistica of the GA. During the Assembly itself members discussed, jointly with key allies, potential strategies on how to disseminate and implement it in Europe and at the national level.
ECVC delegates examined the political situation stirring the European continent, with the continued raise of far right movements. The point was raised on how ECVC members could change the current political situation in Europe, developing a list of political proposal for a different Europe and for a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) respectful of peasants’ rights and, thus, based on Food Sovereignty.
The EU’s promotion of aggressive free trade negotiations was also deconstructed by the Assembly; FTAs were considered to be a frontal assault on farmers and rural communities in Europe and beyond. To illustrate an aspect of this, a representative of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Sahrawi People) was invited to our meeting and presented the implications of the free trade deal between Morocco and the EU in occupied Western Sahara.
Other political discussions during the GA included questions such as the future of the International operative secretariat of La Via Campesina in Europe (starting from 2021), the issue of Forests, the issue of seeds, Gender diversity in the countryside and the role of Public policies in the International debate.
Particular attention was given to the issue of Seeds through a motion that recalled the importance of the full implementation of GMO regulations and against any amendment and to stop any patent on native traits.
Solidarity motions with the struggle of Cerro Liberta, the Somontes land occupation and against the assassination of water activist and human rights defenders in Brazil and other regions of Latin America also have been adopted.
Besides, welcoming the Belgian organisation Borenforum has a full member of ECVC, the GA admitted 3 new candidate organizations: HSEP (Croatia), LIFE (Croatia) and Talahm Beo (Ireland).
As usual the GA was preceded by the Youth Assembly and the Women Assembly of ECVC. These were moments where the two constituencies had the chance to discuss the work done in 2018 and to plan the work for this year. The participation of the youth articulation was particularly strong in this year’s GA, a promising sign of a new generation of Food Sovereignty defenders in the European peasant movement.