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The EU is spoiling Calabria

4 October 2011

Workers don't have water or housing! Small-scale farmers don't have an income!

This year, the European Union has twice allocated European funds of a total of 58 million Euros to the Calabrese region (towns of Rosarno, Gioia Tauro and San Fernando, Italy)

European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) has learned with dismay that these subsidies will be invested in recreational activities: a sports’ centre, a swimming pool, tennis courts,… whereas the situation of small-scale farmers and of thousands of seasonal workers in this area is constantly deteriorating….

In January 2010, a major revolt took place, ignited by the terrible working, housing and social conditions workers had toput up with, due to the decrease in the price of oranges. Intolerable violence was inflicted on the workers who were demanding decent working and housing conditions.

This kind of social situation deserves better treatment than contempt or being ignored.

ECVC clearly states again that Europe needs all its farmers, and that agricultural workers need decent salaries and living conditions.

In about a month, thousands of migrants who work and live in this area will begin the orange harvest. In some places, social housing programmes have been initiated to house these people, but this is still a minority and this housing often resembles ghettos that are built out of sight and far from the city centres, without any services, shops or transport in the area. This means that for the majority of the workers the situation will not have changed at all, and hundreds of them will have to continue living in dilapidated houses or in the unhealthy tenement houses in the shanty towns around the region’s cities.

ECVC denounces the decision to invest in leisure centres while a large part of the peasant and agricultural workers’ population remains “forgotten” by the public institutions.

ECVC reiterates the urgency of setting up support for small-scale farms that would allow them to continue their activity while obtaining a income through their work.

Furthermore ECVC demands that the EU to establish a principle of conditionality for EU funding, and a control mechanism based on the respect of labour laws, in order to strengthen workers’ rights rather than the benefits of the captains of industry.

Only in this way can the principle of food sovereignty as a right achieve progress.

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