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S&Ds: Farmers need support to move towards greener, healthier food production


26 Oct 2020


Agriculture & Food

We have moved away from the initial business-as-usual proposal from the Commission to a much more progressive and effective text that helps farmers to compete at a local and global level and that ensures Europe-wide high standards of food quality and safety. The CAP will also be the decisive means of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. Therefore, we have included a review in 2025 to update the social, climate and environmental targets the EU Commission will set with the Green Deal, Biodiversity and the Farm to Fork strategies.

The rapporteur for the Common Market Organization (CMO) Regulation, S&D MEP Eric Andrieu, stated:

"Our main goal was to create effective mechanisms to prevent and better manage agricultural crises. It is essential that farmers can obtain a more equitable and stable income in order to support them in the green transition to come.

“It’s time to stop spreading the false message that markets are self-regulating. The European Commission must be more responsible and fully play its role as regulator in the agricultural sector. This goes hand in hand with the financial sector of the agriculture markets. The European Commission must co-operate more with financial regulatory authorities, but also with regulators in other sectors, in particular energy.

“On what the press has called the ‘veggie-burger’ dossier, namely the use of meat-related terms for plant-based products, the European Parliament turned out to be very divided between the ‘pro-meat’ and the ‘pro-veggie’ arguments. We found a balanced solution that provides consumers with fair information while treating the vegetable protein and meat sectors fairly.

“On the nutrition labelling of wine, the energy value of wines, as well as the list of its ingredients will now be specified to increase consumer awareness.

“As for organic products, if we want to reach the target of 25% organic farming areas by 2030 as established in the Farm to Fork strategy, it is our duty to support farmers and guarantee a price level above the costs of production in order to allow farmers to make a smooth transition towards healthier production with fewer pesticides.

“Last but not least, we have also sent a strong message to European and non-EU producers by introducing the possibility of banning imported products that don’t comply with environmental and social standards.”

S&D spokesperson in the agriculture committee, Paolo De Castro MEP, added:

"To effectively and globally address climate change and its dreadful impacts on our farmers and rural areas, we need a Europe-wide co-ordinated approach so that our farmers can make a further qualitative leap in guaranteeing healthier and greener food products.

"However, the CAP reform proposed by the EU Commission in 2018 delegated enormous responsibilities back to the member states, meaning a de facto re-nationalization of the Common Agricultural Policy.

"Therefore, the Socialists and Democrats Group requested and has succeeded in reopening the discussion on the whole reform, despite the initial vote of the Agriculture Commission.

"Thanks to all our negotiating team we have achieved crucial steps forward in all the three regulations.

"In the Common Market Organization (CMO) Regulation, we ensured the strengthening of market-crisis-management measures and greater transparency along the supply chain. In the Horizontal Regulation, we managed to defend the Europe-wide dimension of the CAP. Lastly, in the Strategic Plan Regulation, we were able to safeguard the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the sector, aligning the CAP with the goals of the Green Deal.

"We are ready now, as the S&D Group, to take up the challenges of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, which must not replace the CAP however, but must support it in making Europe’s 11 million farmers more resilient against any potential new health crisis and more competitive, guiding them towards the achievement of common objectives."