Here are our answers to the questions discussed in the Informal EU Agriculture Council on 19/21 September.
1. What should the future role of the first pillar be ?
Whereas food speculation increases, whereas the EU wants to regulate financial markets, the CAP cannot any longer just compensate for the failures of deregulated agricultural markets. An agricultural policy is not just a distribution of subsidies: it must implement coherent instruments which make it possible to the European producers to get a living first from their production.
The costs of production’s means being higher in Europe than in the countries of the South, is it possible to guarantee EU food security, by maintaining there sustainable family farming, if world agricultural prices, volatile and depressed by the dumping, are imposed to European farmers ? Let us remember that 25% of farmers disappeared in the EU in the 10 last years.
Whereas UNO discusses “the Millenium objectives”, is it possible for the EU to continue to export agricultural produce at prices below its production costs (dumping) thanks to the current “pillars” of the CAP? The legitimacy of the CAP has to be won at the international level by stopping the dumping of the green box and by directing the CAP in priority towards the European needs. To be the importer and exporter n°1 for agricultural produce is for the EU a weakness facing the present environmental and energy challenges.
While trying to legitimate the first pillar by the financing of “public goods”, as the EU had tried to do it in 1999 with multifonctionnality, one would change nothing to the lack of international legitimacy and the destructive low prices. To manage supply, to put an end to exports and imports EU at low prices, to put an end to factory farming and over-intensification of the production, these are requirements for fair and stable European farm prices.
The maintained budget of the CAP could then be useful for:
- to compensate for the natural handicaps,
- to support the too small-scale sustainable farms unable to live only of their production but whose multifonctionnality is recognized,
- to promote European plant protein autonomy,
- to support farms to go beyond mandatory environmental, social and animal welfare standards.
2. A flexible CAP to manage "unpredictable economic crisis situations" ?
In a world sick with deregulation and unpredictable crisis, should we not prevent crisis instead of trying cure them with insurances? The milk crisis shows us that it is necessary to better regulate the production and not to remove any supply management. The financial crisis and the food speculation should move away any idea from futures markets.
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