Opinion - The European Parliament must not make the Farm to Fork strategy untenable for the agri-food sector

Farming unions and cooperatives across the European Union have issued a joint declaration ahead of the ENVI and AGRI Committee meetings in the European Parliament on 9 September.
calendar icon 8 September 2021
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The ENVI and AGRI Committees of the European Parliament will vote on their draft report presenting their official reaction to the Farm to Fork strategy.

While the first studies on the impact of the strategy launched by the Commission in 2020 show extremely worrisome trends, MEPs are planning to call for several additional objectives and targets for the Commission Strategy that would be simply untenable for the EU farming community.

During the summer, a new study by the JRC, which we regret was not shared more broadly, confirmed the first impact analyses already published on the Commission's flagship strategy for agriculture. The Farm to Fork strategy, in its current form, will lead to significant drops in productions and significant additional costs for producers. Even if a reduction in EU agricultural emissions could result from this strategy, a large part of it would come from the relocation of our production to third countries.

Without further reflection or consultation and despite this damning observation, the European Parliament is nevertheless preparing to vote this week on additional proposals that are disconnected from agri-food sector realities, which, for all the signatories of this declaration, could make the strategy even more detrimental for the survival of the entire sector.

However, we note a growing awareness, albeit belated, of a certain number of MEPs concerned about guaranteeing our food sovereignty, our agricultural leadership and the future of our rural territories. We are now asking them to back their words with action and we call on members of the ENVI and AGRI committees to vote clearly against the most damaging compromise amendments of the draft report that are putting the future of our European farms and their related industries at risk.

Aware of the necessity to adapt to environmental challenges, and despite the current economic situation, farming communities across Europe are acting every day to meet the demands for emission limits, biodiversity, and animal welfare. If the EU wants us to succeed, it will have to support us with a pragmatic political framework based on realistic objectives that are consistent with its trade policy, safeguard a level playing field with imports and provide the necessary assistance for a sustainable transition. Environmental sustainability cannot be disconnected from social and economic sustainability, and this synergy goes together with incremental and pragmatic targets.

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