How will the CAP objectives be met and new challenges be taken on, when the EU is concluding new free trade agreements, which will lead to greater volatility and further price cuts for farmers, without even guaranteeing a greater agricultural budget, not even a serious proposal for a new distribution of aids? It's impossible! Hit by plunging income, the outcome will continue to be a reduction in the number of farmers.
Ahead of this week’s meeting of the EU Council of Ministers, where the European Commission will present its communication on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2020, ECVC recalls that the solutions put forward in this document continue to dodge the root causes of the crisis.
Brussels, 11 December 2017 – One of the many questions ECVC asks itself is: How will the CAP objectives be met and new challenges be taken on, when the EU is concluding new free trade agreements, which will lead to greater volatility and further price cuts for farmers, without even guaranteeing a greater agricultural budget, not even a serious proposal for a new distribution of aids? It’s impossible! Hit by plunging income, the outcome will continue to be a reduction in the number of farmers.
The mechanisms, instruments and alternatives available to European public institutions are innumerable. However, while the Commission’s commitment continues to tilt towards the agro-industry and the transnational financial sector, we must emphasize that defending the model of peasant and family farming would not only benefit producers in Europe and rural areas, but the welfare of our societies as a whole.
Therefore, the next CAP 2020 should be a strong and ambitious agricultural policy, in rupture with the current one. In this sense, it is essential to regulate markets, and limit production in models of expansion and overdimension that are based on speculation and financial investment in agriculture. These create surpluses, destroy active farmers, lead to the abandonment of many rural areas and promote the concentration of production and land. New distribution models for aids and the simplification of the CAP are needed. Aid decoupled from activity and based on land hectares is not an acceptable form of distribution for farmers.
The reference in the Commission paper to instruments and mechanisms such as research and innovation are positive as long as they are within the reach of small and medium-sized farms, thus democratising access to research and innovation. And not, as is currently the case, that these serve to expand the power of the industrial, speculative and financial model.
The Commission’s attempt to tackle rural wage work by migrants in its communication lacks real commitment and ambition. Its approach leaves out the working conditions of migrant wage workers. Therefore, in line with the initial principles of the CAP, any aid paid to farmers and agri-food businesses must, therefore, be conditioned to a set of minimum labour standards (in line with international labour conventions).
The main objective of the next CAP must be to support agricultural systems capable of producing quality food for all, especially for those who have been hardest hit by the economic crisis. It is essential to define agrarian, food and commercial models that are respectful of the environment and animal welfare and that also help to fight climate change, create jobs and encourage life in rural areas. This production model is that of peasant, family and sustainable agriculture.
A timetable reflecting the evolution towards these non-conventional models of agriculture is needed. The use of CAP aids to encourage the transition of agricultural systems would be a strong message sent by the Commission to citizens. This would justify financing the CAP.
- Jose Miguel Pacheco Goncalves (ECVC Coordination Committee): +35 19 6872 1995 – PT, ES
- Geneviève Savigny (ECVC Coordination Committee): +33 62 555 1687 – FR, EN, EN, ES
- Andoni Garcia: (Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos – ECVC): +34 63 645 1569 EN -EZ