EU farmers demands for the new legislative period. ECVC press release.

ECVC farmers and other small-scale producers have spent decades demanding fair income through market regulation, prices that cover production costs and a better sharing of public subsidies. At last, after months of mass mobilisations, this topic took centre stage in the recent European election campaign, with almost all political groups making promises to use European policy to ensure farmers can earn a decent income.

Policymakers must tackle the important social crises facing rural areas in particular and implement concrete policy to build solidarity and understanding between urban and rural areas and deconstruct the current polarising rhetoric. This must focus on ensuring fairer prices and better working conditions for farmers and farm workers in Europe and an international agricultural trade based on food sovereignty. Without fair income, it won’t be possible to achieve the necessary sustainable agroecological transition and other legislative proposals related to agriculture will not be effective in improving farmers’ positions because the root cause of the issue has not been addressed.

ECVC is deeply concerned about the support garnered by the extreme right in a number of European countries. We recall that migrant workers provide a large part of the waged work in the agricultural and food processing sectors, very often with difficult working conditions and low wages. The rights of all workers in this sector must be defended. We reject the false opposition between farmers and farm workers: it is only by breaking the spiral of low prices and market deregulation that we will improve working conditions and pay for all who produce food.

The demands of farmers are clear, set out in ECVC’s Priorities document for the new legislative period.

  • Guarantee fair prices that cover production costs and decent working conditions through market regulation and European public policies that support farmers and agricultural workers.
  • End free trade agreements, implementing a new European trade framework based on solidarity and food sovereignty.
  • Ensure all European policies respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas, which includes provisions to protect the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas relating to standard of living, seeds, land and territory, traditional agricultural knowledge and practices and biological diversity, among others.
  • Work on a new European land directive in order to allow generational renewal in agriculture.

The starting point should be to ensure that selling agricultural products under the cost of production is made illegal all over Europe. This should be done during the first 3 months of the new EU mandate; Member States and the European Parliament should ensure selling at loss and under the cost of production is added to the UTP Directive black list of practices by urgent procedure.

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