EU Approved Agrarian Reform: A Systemic Change?

On Wednesday, the countries voted to reform the agricultural policy of the community, according to which 20 percent of subsidies in the future will be given to those farmers who agree to participate in programs to preserve the environment. The previous system of distribution of subsidies was tied primarily to the size of the cultivated agricultural area, which, according to experts, was one of the reasons for the decline in the number of small farms and the disappearance of species. The press is skeptical about the new compromise.

More realistic — and with perspective

This compromise will push the forward, says business magazine Les Echos:

“The consensus of 27 countries with the assistance of the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, and the European Commission will make it possible to carry out a new agricultural policy from 2023. For an weakened by political squabbling and Britain’s withdrawal, which will diminish the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy [GAP] budget by €40 billion per annum, this common initiative is a significant political success. Moreover, it finally outlines a real prospect for a more stable, but at the same time viable — albeit not so profitable — agricultural policy. Although MEPs were more ambitious, they wisely refrained from formulating goals that would have been impossible to achieve due to lack of staff and funding.”

The winners, as always, are the agro giants

agriculture ministers have missed a tremendous opportunity to make agricultural policies more social and environmentally friendly, says

“Their decisions make it seem like these politicians have never heard of species extinction, soil erosion, or global warming. … Most of the agricultural subsidies in the next seven years will continue to go to support industrial agriculture — with all the corresponding environmental consequences that we already know. The more farmland, the more generous subsidies come from Brussels — and nothing will change in that regard. Small and medium-sized farms are again in the red — no matter if they operate in a traditional or environmentally friendly model. … The winner will be the one who produces a lot and cheaply.”

Reform: the continuation of disastrous policies

In this initiative, the hand of the agrarian lobby is very clearly traced, — such criticism of the parliamentary decision is made by Green Party member Philip Lamberts and nutrition expert Olivier De Schutter. In their article for Vif / L’Express, they write:

“Wherever the food industry lobby raises its head, it invariably pursues only one goal — to maintain the status quo. The reason is simple: since the size of agricultural subsidies is tied to the size of agricultural land, the main beneficiaries are not small entrepreneurs, but large farms and food industry giants. … The draft reform proposed for voting by the European parliamentarians is a very unworthy response to the current social situation and the impending climate catastrophe. … The reform not only fails to offer a solution to the problem of inequitable distribution of agricultural subsidies but also demonstrates a complete failure in facilitating the transition to a sustainable food production system.”

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