Dear friends and supporters of ARC2020
April was another busy month for ARC2020 and the Good Food Good Farming campaign.On 17 April, with EU trilogue negotiations underway, ARC2020 sent a letter to the European Institutions working on the CAP reform. Specifically, the European Parliament rapporteurs, Chairman of the Agricultural Committee – Paolo De Castro, President of the Council of Agricultural Ministers – Simon Coveney, and EU Commissioner for Agriculture – Dacian Cioloş. The letter outlines a number of points that ARC2020 urges negotiators to support in this final stage of CAP talks.

On April 21 the ARC2020 Speakers Tour on Land grabbing kicked off in Paris, before heading to other European capitals including Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam and Brussels. The two speakers taking part in the tour (the third in the series) were Attila Szocs – ARC2020 correspondent for Romania who monitors large-scale agricultural land purchases in Romania, and Dan Cismas – biodynamic farmer and co-president of the EcoRuralis peasant association. Along with their trusty translator, our campaign coordinator Stephanie Roth, they spent 10 days meeting with civil society organisations, journalists, government officials and concerned citizens at different events in order to raise awareness of the growing problem of land grabbing here in the EU. For them the tour was a chance to link their struggles, develop alliances and take a common stand against large land investments being made by multi-national companies. Find their blog here and photos from the tour here.

ARC2020 has also been involved in two campaign actions this month: one on bees; one on seeds.Bees – Together with Slow Food and the European Beekeeping Coordination we decided to run a joint action leading up to the decisive vote on the proposed neonicotinoid pesticide ban taking place on April 29. The Commission had proposed a ban following evidence finding they are harmful to bees. With national Agricultural Ministers set to vote on whether or not to support an EU-wide ban, we urged EU citizens to contact them directly in the run up to the vote. Following an inconclusive vote in March, it was already clear which countries needed most pressure. On the morning of the vote, ARC2020 and friends were up bright and early in Brussels ready for a final push. See photos here. The vote outcome was a HUGE VICTORY for Europe’s bees and the environment: the Commission will now enforce the world’s first continent-wide ban on widely-used insecticides.

Seeds – Elsewhere, in Berlin, our first ever Seed Ball action took place on April 27. Armed with soil, seeds and water, the team headed down to Markthalle Neun to catch weekly shoppers and ask them to take part in some guerilla gardening. The action resulted in a large number of mini seed parcels that can be dropped around the city, bringing colour and providing nourishment for bees and butterflies. The event comes as an EU-wide petition on seed legislation was launched by Save our Seeds and Campact. The petition is demanding that the proposed EU seed legislation must allow more diversity in our fields and on our plates, rather than destroying it. Find out more here.

Thanks for your ongoing support – the bee campaign is such a great reminder of what can be achieved if we work together!

Kate Mann
ARC2020 Communications Manager

Latest from Brussels

In March, the Council of Agricultural Ministers and the EU Parliament finalised their positions on the future CAP. On April 11 the next phase of the reform began – the trilogue negotiations  – in which the Commission, Parliament and Council must find a common agreement.

Taking place behind closed doors, an insight into these discussions must primarily be gained in the publically-broadcasted monthly meetings of the Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, and the Council of Agricultural Ministers. This month the Committee met from April 24 – 25 (watch online here), whilst the Council met from 22 – 23 April (see more opposite).

Ahead of both meetings, on April 18, the European Commission published proposals concerning transitional arrangements for the CAP in 2014, including for Direct Payments. Transitional measures are required to allow time to draw up the implementing rules and the necessary administrative arrangements arising from the new CAP framework.

In addition to CAP, a key event this month was the vote on neonicotinoids on April 29. With 15 Member States voting in favour of a ban on these pesticides, the Commission will now impose a 2 year restriction on their use: a ban from which Member States cannot opt out.

April Agricultural and Fisheries Council Meeting

With six trilogue meetings behind them, the Council of Agricultural Ministers met in Luxumbourg from 22 – 23 April for their monthly meeting. On the agenda: the current state of play in the CAP negotiations and the Commission’s transitional measures.

Chairing the meeting, Irish Farm Minister Simon Coveney confirmed that full political agreement by the end of June was still very much on target. He aims to use the informal Council meeting on 27 – 28 May in Dublin to encourage agreement. The June Council will then be a key moment for final decisions and an agreement.Speaking after the meeting, Coveney said “The positions of the Council and the Parliament are not that far apart and I believe that the Commission will show some flexibility also”.

After the same meeting, EU Agriculture Commissioner Cioloş pointed out that EU governments must be “realistic” so compromises can be reached.

Upcoming public events04.05.2013
Seed Ball action!

11 – 13.05.2013
Peliti: International Seed Days

31.05. – 01.06.2013
City Farm
Paris, France

Land Sharing Versus Land Grabbing

03. – 04.06.2013
EMB Demonstration
Berlin, Germany

“Mir hams satt” Demonstration against industrial farming
Munich, Germany

28.08 – 01.09.2013
Wietze, Germany

Upcoming Policy Events

06 – 07.05.2013
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

13 – 14.05.2013
Meeting of Agriculture and Fisheries Council

26 – 28.05.2013
Informal Meeting of Ministers for Agriculture

29 – 30.05.2013
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

Find all events listed on ARC2020 here

CAMPAIGN LATESTThroughout the summer we will be taking part in actions across Europe. Highlights include a city farm in the centre of Paris (a joint action with La Confédération paysanne), and a festival in Wietze, Germany (home to Europe’s biggest chicken slaughterhouse) being organised by our German partners: This 3 day international event will see open-air discussions and workshops on Europe’s food and farming; the main day (01.09.2013) will include a demonstration, a concert and a human chain!

Watch this space and find more here!

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