MADRID, 1 Feb. (EUROPA PRESS) -
Farmers from all over Europe have asked this Thursday in the large tractor rally called by the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) in the streets of Brussels, in which more than a thousand tractors have participated, to put an end to free trade agreements and guarantee fair prices for the countryside.
Specifically, hundreds of ECVC farmers have gathered with their tractors in Luxembourg Square in the Belgian capital, together with more than 30 civil society organizations, to demand that the heads of the community institutions stop the free trade agreements of the European Union (EU) with third countries, in the case of Mercosur, that imports comply with the same regulations as European agricultural production and a flexibility and simplification of the "expensive" bureaucratic burden of agricultural and environmental regulations.
Representing Spain, farmers and ranchers from the Coordinator of Farmers and Ranchers Organizations (COAG) have responded to the call for European mobilization in Brussels, sent on Monday by ECVC, "in order to promote concrete changes for farmers at the doors of European policy makers".
For COAG, the orientation of agricultural and environmental policies and their "incoherence" with Europe's trade policies, "by not requiring the same conditions for imports, are one of the main causes of the discontent of farmers that has been seen national level in recent weeks.
The ECVC and COAG farmers have also stressed that they have not gone to Brussels to "destroy anything, but to bring concrete proposals for the future of food and agriculture in Europe."
Through coordinated mobilizations of European farmers, which have also had "strong support" from civil society, ECVC and its members "want to place farmers' demands at the center of EU decision-making."
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel David, and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, have agreed to meet with ECVC after the mobilization to discuss the sector's demands.
However, Michel will not be able to attend the meeting due to being on sick leave, so members of his cabinet will participate on his behalf, as Europa Press has been informed by sources in the sector.
For ECVC, the "epitome of these inconsistencies are the continuing negotiations of the Mercosur case."
ECVC coordinating committee member Morgan Ody highlighted in the opening speech of this Thursday's demonstration that free trade agreements "have pushed farmers to prices that do not cover production costs and policies that favor large companies." agri-food corporations and speculative investment funds".
"The EU-Mercosur agreement must be definitively put to an end, as well as all free trade agreements linked to agriculture," he added, explaining that, in its place, "small farmers must be supported by coherent agricultural policies." and market regulation that guarantees stable agricultural prices higher than production costs."
The agricultural sector, in general, has demanded that the EU must reestablish intervention prices and minimum prices for all products, as well as that "the directive on unfair commercial practices" must be applied, using the Spanish regulation of the Food Chain Law.
Finally, they have asked the 27 "to guarantee a sufficient budget and an equitable distribution of aid from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to facilitate a fair transition towards agroecology and sustainable practices", as well as that "we must support farmers in this transition by minimizing the administrative burden.
This great effort occurs within the framework of the meeting called by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with the majority agricultural professional organizations --COAG, the Agrarian Association of Young Farmers (Asaja) and the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers (UPA )-- at the Ministry headquarters this Friday, February 2, in an attempt to stop the protests planned for the coming weeks.
The head of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, thus responds to the request for a meeting raised in the joint letter by Asaja, COAG and UPA and received this Tuesday, January 30, at the Ministry.
The majority agricultural professional organizations reached an agreement this Tuesday to request "immediate" solutions from Planas to address the problems of the sector in everything related to the consequences of the drought and the War in Ukraine, prices and production costs, simplification and flexibility of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), livestock sectors and labor and Social Security issues.
Asaja, COAG and UPA agreed this Tuesday to resume the calendar of mobilizations to demand an "ambitious" shock plan that includes measures both at the European level and by the Government of Spain and the autonomous communities.
The associations assured in a joint press release that "the acts of protest will take place at a more regional level during the coming weeks."
In this sense, the organizations highlighted that they are going to demand the suspension of negotiations of agreements such as Mercosur, the non-ratification of the agreement with New Zealand and that negotiations with Chile, Kenya, Mexico, India and Australia be stopped.
On the other hand, Asaja, COAG and UPA demanded the modification and expansion of the Agri-Food Chain Law to prohibit unfair practices so that farmers' prices cover production costs.