“Stop the follies of Europe”: Coldiretti’s protest reaches Brussels

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By John

On a large banner it reads: “Stop the follies of Europe” but the farmers also display signs with “Enough uncultivated land!”, “Get down from the pear tree”, “Stop unfair imports”, “Fair prices for farmers”, “No Farmers no Food”, “Synthetic food, European citizens are not guinea pigs”, “We milk the cows, not the farmers”. “It’s not the Europe we want: The battle and the conquests for farmers are played out and determined in Europe. And Coldiretti is doing it! “We ask that there be a clear stop on imports to the entry of products from outside the EU borders that do not comply with our own standards. We can no longer tolerate this unfair competition, which puts the health of citizens and the survival of agricultural businesses at risk”. This was stated by the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini on the occasion of the first mobilization with farmers from all over Europe and the participation for the Italy’s Coldiretti took to the streets in Place du Luxembourg, in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, where the extraordinary EU summit is being held with the presence of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The principle of reciprocity must be guaranteed in trade agreements and from this perspective the EU Commission’s announcement that “the conditions are not met” for reaching a trade agreement with the Mercosur countries is positive. A choice that follows the complaint by Coldiretti in Italy and Fnsea in France on unfair competition caused by the serious failures of many South American countries in terms of the sustainability of agri-food production with risks for the environment, food safety and the exploitation of child labour. Coldiretti asks to return to investing in European food sovereignty and security by ensuring more funds for the common agricultural policy after the pandemic and the wars have demonstrated all the fragility of the European Union in the face of the blockade of world trade, but also the difficulty of the production system shocked by the violence of climate change, to protect ourselves from which adequate investments in active and passive defense are needed. We must increase investments in agriculture – continued Prandini -, guaranteeing more support for young people for generational turnover in our sector. Without girls and boys in agriculture, Europe will be more fragile and dependent on imports. “We need the cancellation of the obligation to leave 4% of land intended for arable land uncultivated imposed by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to reverse course compared to the follies of the EU – noted Prandini – since it makes no sense to prevent farmers from not cultivate portions of their land, when they are then forced to import, as we have been arguing for years. But Europe must also support supply chain agreements to build fairer markets – explained the president of Coldiretti -, with a fairer distribution of value and more transparency for consumers. The new Common Agricultural Policy will have to encourage this model which strengthens the relationships between production, transformation and marketing, also to combat unfair practices. For Italian fishing, however, the Commission’s desire to ban trawling, the most productive sector – Coldiretti recalls – of national fish, weighs heavily, paving the way for a real invasion of product from abroad here too. After pressure from Coldiretti, the EU Parliament sided with the Italian navies. We asked President Meloni to continue to protect Italian farmers – underlined Prandini -, bringing our reasons to Europe. We need a change of pace compared to the recent past. There can be no more space for ideological policies that have penalized farmers, putting many supply chains at risk in our country too. Europe – concluded Prandini – must invest in its own food self-sufficiency, rejecting homogenizing models such as those of artificial food and recognizing the role of safeguarding the environment that agricultural companies play every day. Our battle in Europe will continue in a strong and continuous manner with proposals for the future of farmers.”