At the start of July, Croatia joined the European Union and is now the 28th Member State. As an organisation of small and medium farmers, the European Coordination Via Campesina warmly welcomes our fellow-farmers in Croatia.
There is no doubt that for some companies and even some farmers, joining the Union means new opportunities for developing businesses. However for many small farmers, it will make their situation harder.
As no doubt you are aware entering countries must have “a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union” in accordance with the “Copenhagen criteria” which fix the rules for the accession process. This stipulation means inevitable contradictions with the ideals of human social progress that should be the goal of modern policies, even as the European Union claims to be a space for peace, democracy and human rights.
New Member States such as Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria have experienced problems after their accession to the Union, which have led many farmers to abandon their land and to a dramatic decrease in the rural population.
We’re aware that joining the Union means a lot of standards to comply with, opening of markets to imported food, and increased competition for land.
In a time of widespread unemployment in Europe and a loss of productivity due to climate change, many experts now reckon that food security should be based on family farming and a dense network of small farms using sustainable methods.
It is not easy in the European liberal framework, and this is the reason why our organisation, together with many civil society organisations, is defending the framework “Food Sovereignty” where people and countries can decide freely on their food and agriculture policies, without interference from trade and finance. The “Nyeleni Europe Movement for Food Sovereignty” already has members in Croatia who are willing to defend a sustainable food system with many farmers.
Producing good food for our communities is a meaningful and exciting task that is worth defending. More and more citizens wish to support local food supply chains, and can reinforce farmers ‘ position in front of the aggressive agro-industrial system.
Let Croatian farmers have their own voice.
European Coordination Via Campesina
• ECVC : Geneviève Savigny (FR,EN) 0033625551687
• Nyeleni-Europe correspondant in Croatia : Suncana Pesak (Cro, EN) 00385 95 8082 688