BRUSSELS – At the initiative of progressive European parties and in cooperation with Via Campesina, a small farmers’ organisation, nearly 200 farmers from all over Europe met on Wednesday 23 May in the European Parliament to demand a change of course in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). At this conference, organised by MEPs Eric Andrieu (S&D, FR), Martin Häusling (Greens, DE) and Lidia Senra (GUE/NGL, ES), and in the presence of the European Commission, farmers addressed the most sensitive and controversial issues concerning the current CAP reform.

MEP Eric Andrieu, spokesperson for European Social-Democrats, states: “Food is not just a commodity. We must put people back at the heart of our common agricultural policy. Faced with the environmental, climate and food security challenges before us, we will not be able to do without an in-depth reform of the common agricultural policy. The new CAP must promote the diversification of production, encourage agronomic practices that limit chemical inputs and support farmers in this transition towards a sustainable development model.”

MEP Martin Häusling, coordinator for the Greens on Agriculture, adds: “Small farms receive by far too little recognition by the current Common Agriculture Policy. This must change as in particular small farms have a high contribution in preserving diversity in agriculture and biodiversity of wild life. Very important are more ambitious second pillar measures of the CAP, promoting rural areas by supporting cooperatives or LEADER projects. Important is a better spending of CAP money and a full conditionalization of first pillar money to climate measures, environmental measures or animal welfare.

MEP Lídia Senra, leader of the of the Unitary Left on Agriculture issues, stresses: “The European Union must not use agriculture as a bargaining element in trade liberalization agreements. We must not gamble with food, and our lives are not negotiable. The new Common Agricultural Policy must incorporate a paradigm shift: placing people at the center, not the market, banks or large distribution chains and agroindustry. The current Common Agricultural Policy is unfair to peasants, society and the environment. The reform for the 2021-2027 period should be the opportunity to assume that food does matter for our well-being and health and is not a business.

The European Commission will present its legislative proposals for the future CAP on Friday 1 of June.

 

 

For further information:

Eric Andrieu : Raphaël Delarue : + 32 486 359 463

Martin Häusling : Corinna Hartmann : + 32 487746596

Lidia Senra : Vera Cruz Montoto: +34 698 108 434