Latest from Brussels

Pesticides under Pressure | EU Parliament and Progressive Places Putting Biodiversity First

With insect Armageddon and biodiversity collapse making the headlines, pesticides are public enemy No. 1. Scientists are now naming and shaming pesticides as a key driver of biodiversity loss. Even the European Parliament has caught the bug. MEPs insist that the new CAP must do more to shrug off our dependency on agrochemicals. Meanwhile farmers are showing that – with the right supports – instead of scapegoats for biodiversity loss, they can be part of the solution. […]

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Milk crisis: 3 Reasons why the Commission are at Fault

ARC2020 exclusive: Part one two by André Pfimlin, translated from French by ARC2020’s Samuel Feret and Peter Crosskey. In part one, Andre outlines the milk crisis: part two, to be released tomorrow morning, suggests solutions. #MilkCrisis   “Since the long term market perspectives are good for animal products and since Europe has significant potential for growing milk production, we should produce more and export more”, said European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. “We must accelerate the modernisation and consolidation of livestock farmholdings to make them more productive and more competitive”, a Copa-Cogeca vice-president said recently (1). In 2015, just like 2009, at the height of yet another milk crisis the line is the same out of Brussels, be it from the European Commission or Copa-Cogeca. For our policymakers, dreaming of unlimited export trade for decades to come, the short-term volatility of world prices takes a back seat. It is down to the livestock farmers to anticipate market volatility and either build up reserves when prices are high or take out private insurance policies. So there will be […]

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40 countries represented at upcoming European Rural Parliament November 4-6

This November sees the European Rural Parliament (ERP) 2015  gathering, to be held in the beautiful small town of Schärding in Upper Austria. This three-day event, with one day of study tours in regions surrounding the venue, followed by two days of workshops and plenary sessions. The aim of the European Rural Parliament is To strengthen the voice of the rural communities of Europe, and to ensure that the interests and well-being of these communities are strongly reflected in national and European policies To promote self-help, common understanding, solidarity, exchange of good practice and cooperation among rural communities throughout Europe. This event will culminate in the adoption of a European Rural Manifesto and supporting Report, aimed at both rural communities and governments throughout Europe and at European Institutions. Over 300 people from 40 countries will attend, plus other leading rural organisations and invited representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, and Council of Europe. The European Rural Manifesto, and supporting report, will be published and used to influence European institutions and national and regional […]

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Biofuels vote includes Indirect Land Use Change

The European Parliament (EP) voted Wednesday to include what is called Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) considerations in its biofuels targets. What effect will this have on the EU’s renewable energy, climate change and also on land use? This European Parliament vote means that the real climate impact, due to displacement of food production, will be taken into account in the EU’s biofuel targets and policies. A cap of 6% on land-based biofuels, including energy crops, has been adopted. According to Terhi Lehtonen environment advisor Greens/EFA group: “This would be the minimum necessary to take real measures to tackle the climate, food security and other social impacts due to displacement of food production that is caused by EU biofuels policy.” Lehtonen adds: “The EP vote also signalled to the markets that future investments should be on biofuels with low-ILUC risk and no food based fuels should be supported after 2020.” How did the vote go? See votewatch here Background Biofuels are liquid fuels made mostly from crops which can be mixed with fossil fuels to […]