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HomeLatest NewsEU Agriculture Ministers meet to attack the rural crisis

EU Agriculture Ministers meet to attack the rural crisis

Date: April 24, 2024 Time: 08:49:31

This Monday, Brussels will host a meeting of the Agriculture Ministers of the European Union (EU), in which the current crisis in the countryside will be discussed and possible measures that could benefit the sector will be discussed. This meeting will be especially focused on the demands made by farmers and ranchers during the protests of recent months.

European ministers hope to be able to specify quick relief measures for the situation in the countryside at this meeting, but also to propose long-term initiatives that help solve the structural problems of the sector. In a statement, the EU council explained that proposals from member states to reduce the administrative burden in the field will be analyzed.

The primary sector, which sees the measures taken so far by European governments as insufficient, has called for a new demonstration in the Belgian city for that same day. Farmers are expected to come with hundreds of tractors to this protest, which will be held in the city’s European quarter.

Protests in Spain

In parallel to the demonstration of farmers and ranchers in the European neighborhood of Brussels, in Madrid they will also closely watch what happens at the headquarters of the community institutions. The capital of Spain will be shielded for the second time in a week, to host a new ‘tractorada’ promoted by the main agricultural organizations (Asaja, COAG and UPA) together with representatives of the fishing sector in a show of unity of action.

Representatives of the Cepesca employers’ associations and the Spanish Aquaculture Business Association (Apromar) will participate in the fishing activity, as well as the National Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (FNCP) and specialized trade, grouped in the National Federation of Provincial Associations of Retailers. of Fish and Frozen Products (FEDEPESCA). They will do so under the motto “For the future of fishing, aquaculture, fishmongers and health”, while farmers and ranchers will have their own banner that will read “The countryside demands support, respect and recognition.”

All of them, accompanied by a caravan of tractors, will travel on foot the distance that separates the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture in Atocha from the offices of the Permanent Representation of the European Commission in Spain, located on Paseo de la Castellana. At the end of the protest a manifesto will be read and the main leaders of the organizing associations will speak. In addition, during the tour, more than 1,000 squid sandwiches will be distributed free of charge to attendees, as a “wink” towards one of the best-known Madrid traditions.

Proposals for the meeting

Community sources pointed out that the intention on Monday is to debate “a roadmap for the future.” Spain, for its part, considers the reduction of administrative burdens of utmost importance and sees it necessary that in Monday’s debate “real and concrete solutions” be sought, according to diplomatic sources. He also noted that “other solutions aimed at strengthening the situation of farmers in the medium and long term, not only financially, but also in terms of their position in the food chain” will be discussed.

The Government will ask the European Union at the ministerial meeting to repeal during 2024 several of the environmental and climate-friendly principles that farmers must comply with to receive support from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Specifically, it will request the repeal of crop rotation and the maintenance of non-productive surfaces in irrigated areas.

Likewise, it will ask that the principle relating to the maintenance of non-productive surfaces not be applied to organic farming. It will also defend eliminating retroactivity in the calculation of rotation years and the possibility of calculating as rotation if a secondary crop has been planted in one year without having been used in the previous two years.

Likewise, it will request allowing vertical tillage between harvest and September 1 and allowing green fertilization during that period. Diplomatic sources stressed that on Monday the idea is to maintain “a frank exchange and identify what can be done.” “It is about having a political debate about the problems facing the sector and the possible lines of action in various channels,” they indicated. In any case, adopting legislative measures is not planned on the agenda. On some issues related to simplification progress is already being made in EU working groups.

Community sources, for their part, point out that the Belgian six-monthly presidency of the Council has cooperated “very closely with the Member States” to prepare for Monday’s meeting and that the countries have transmitted their proposals to take simplification measures. Regarding Monday’s demonstration, they acknowledged that the presence of farmers in front of the building where the meeting takes place “puts a little more pressure on the ministers inside,” who could insist more on achieving concrete results.

This Thursday, the European Commission presented a battery of short and medium-term measures to alleviate the administrative burden on farmers, with simplification of requirements and controls to receive aid, which ministers will debate this Monday. Among what was proposed by Brussels is simplifying the methodology of certain controls, with the aim of reducing the number of visits to farms by national administrations by up to 50%.

Furthermore, in recent weeks the Community Executive has announced other measures in response to the protests, such as withdrawing the bill to reduce the use of pesticides, the partial repeal of barbecue during 2024 or introducing safeguards to react to Ukrainian imports.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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