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EU elections are key for farmers, with fair prices and ending free trade agreements as central issues

30 May 2024

After months of mobilisations at European and national level, the EU elections and the following legislature will play an undeniably key role for peasant farmers, small- and medium-scale farmers and rural workers. The farmers’ protests clearly denounced the European Union’s free trade agenda, which seeks to treat food as yet another commodity for agribusiness to speculate, and exploit farmers and farm workers. The protests called for an end to free trade agreements and to ensure fair income through market regulation mechanisms, in order to be able to invest in an agroecological transition to more sustainable practices. However, to date, the EU institutions and agriculture ministers have not properly addressed this universal concern of farmers.

Abandoning the Green Deal cannot solve the problems of the European farmers, but rather does the opposite. Farmers are suffering the consequences of the climate crisis, which threatens our crops and makes our daily work harder and more complicated. Defending food sovereignty and decent incomes for farmers and farm workers requires ambitious policies to address the climate crisis and promote biodiversity. These policies must work with farmers, not against us, because we have many innovative and creative solutions to address environmental challenges.

Securing the incomes and working conditions of food producers is the sine qua non for farmers to confidently and determinedly cope with the environmental transition. ECVC therefore calls on the European Union to continue with the Farm to Fork strategy, and to equip it with the necessary policy instruments for its implementation: minimum intervention prices, supply management, public stocks, protection against competition and public solidarity mechanisms to tackle climate disasters. There is also a need to substantially improve the income, working conditions and social protection of all agricultural workers, especially migrant workers. Finally, in order to give hope to the entire rural population, the EU should develop a plan to improve public services in rural areas (including health services, education, access to social rights, etc.).

However, the EU has continued to negotiate free trade agreements, using agriculture and food as bargaining chips for other interests. The Agrifish Council has not understood the nature of the social crisis facing the rural world and continues to push its neoliberal policy agenda. A few days before the European elections, we are concerned that this situation will be used by groups that do not have concrete proposals to address the issues of farmers, but who use farmers’ concerns to push their own political interests. At this important moment for European democracy, ECVC encourages yet again underlines the core demand for justice, equality and social protection expressed in Europe’s rural areas.

Notes for the editor

If you would like to interview ECVC farmers from a selection of our members, you can contact the following people:

Belgium – Vincent Delobel, FUGEA - vdelobel@gmail.com, +32 487 90 52 02 (FR, EN)
France – Morgan Ody, Confederation paysanne – morgan@viacampesina.org, +33 6 26 97 76 43 (FR, EN)
Germany - Henrik Maaß, AbL - maass@abl-ev.de, +49 160 8217015 (DE, EN)
Italy – Alessandra Turco, ARI - cascinamalerbe@gmail.com, +39 347 642 7170 5-(IT, ES, FR)
Netherlands – Leonardo van den Berg, Toekomstboeren - leonardo.vandenberg@gmail.com, +31 6 45728069 (NL, EN, PT)
Portugal – Vitor Rodrigues, CNA - vrodrigues@cna.pt, +351 966 468 055 (PT, EN, ES)
Spain – Andoni Garcia Arriola, EHNE Bizkaia - garciaarriola@gmail.com, +34 636 45 15 69 (ES, EUS)

If you would like to have contacts for farmers from other countries, you can contact the ECVC staff team by emailing press@eurovia.org.

Comunicado de prensa - ES

Communiqué de presse - FR

Press release - EN

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