วันที่นำเข้าข้อมูล 6 Mar 2024

วันที่ปรับปรุงข้อมูล 6 Mar 2024

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         Farmers protests continue to set the EU agenda on domestic and international policy  

         

         For the second time within a month, farmers took over the streets of Brussels, this time to coincide with the EU agriculture ministers meeting (26 February). Brussels has been trying to assuage the concerns of the agricultural sector, with the Commission presenting new flexible rules on the review of national strategic plans and the mandatory nature of some Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs) concerning minimum soil covercrop rotations, and leaving 4% of land fallow. These were not enough for the farmers, if they were for some of the big agri-companies. 

            EU agriculture ministers, while welcoming the measures, urged the Commission to start ‘as soon as possible’ the revision of the Common Agricultural Policy reflecting the impact of the war in Ukraine and the Green Deal – the last CAP reform was agreed as recently as 2021. MEPs from the Agriculture Committee (AGRI) also sent a letter to Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski (20 February) setting out six demands to address the farmers’ discontent, demanding action to ease the burden of green policiesimbalances in the food chain, and unfair competition from third countries (read Ukraine).

             Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, particularly those with Mercosur and Australia, are at the centre of the discussion. Although not for the same reason – sustainability and market access respectively – these deals are stalled. A controversial issue in the negotiations with Mercosur is the mirror clauses – these would force producers to respect the same environmental and health standards. France, Austria, and more recently Spain, see the deal as too favourable for foreign beef and sugar producers if mirror clauses are not applied to agri-products. Similar concerns have pushed the Commission to turn down Australia’s demands for significant new market access for its farmers. The prospects of these deals going anywhere in the next Parliament look bleak.