A Left manifesto for sustainable agriculture and forestry

The Left group in the European Parliament is today launching a manifesto for a fair and democratic CAP. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has failed farmers and EU citizens, with one European farm disappearing every 3 minutes in the last decade alone.

The proposals elaborated by MEPs of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament come in response to the post-2020 CAP unveiled earlier this month. The Manifesto proposes concrete policies to realise:

  • a sustainable production and consumption model;
  • decent income for small and medium farms, and higher social protection for farmers and agricultural workers;
  • a fair alternative to free trade agreements and the end of export subsidies;
  • a climate-friendly and healthier CAP;
  • gender and age balance in the sector;
  • animal welfare and;
  • forest protection and sustainable forest manage.

In contrast, the Commission’s post-2020 CAP proposals continue the same old policies that have benefited mostly large agribusinesses like Monsanto, with dire costs to the environment, animals and public health. About 80 percent of the €55 billion/year CAP budget went to 20 percent of recipients, showing a huge imbalance in the system.

MEP Stefan Eck (independent, Germany) explained why the need now for an alternative CAP:

“Thirty years of CAP have taken a severe toll in our rural communities and our ecosystems. The CAP was disastrous for traditional family farms and impacted negatively, directly or indirectly, the lives of billions of people and billions of animals in and outside of Europe.”

“The CAP brought increased concentration of production, increased levels of intensive farming and animal abuse, increased regional asymmetries and foreign external dependence on agricultural goods favouring the biggest, richest economies. Large agribusinesses dramatically expanded their margins, with the help of huge doses of chemicals (pesticides and fertilisers), inflicting a big blow to the environment causing more land, water and air pollution notably in Europe.”

“The 2013 CAP reform had three extra overall objectives – viable food production, sustainable management of natural resources and climate action, balanced territorial development – with no visible results, so far!”

“Therefore, GUE/NGL presents a Left manifesto for sustainable agriculture and forestry to show that the formulated goals are achievable, but only if we fundamentally change the direction of our policies.”

MEP Lidia Senra (independent, Galicia) called for a paradigm shift towards a fair and democratic CAP:

“The European Union must not use agriculture as a bargaining chip in trade liberalisation agreements. We must not gamble with food, our lives are not negotiable. The new CAP must incorporate a paradigm shift: placing people at the centre, instead of the market, banks and large distribution chains and agribusinesses.”

“The current CAP is unfair to peasants, the society and the environment. The post-2020 CAP should be an opportunity to realise that food does matter for our well-being and that our health is not a business,” Senra concluded.