For immediate release
Civil society (and animals) gather in Strasbourg ahead of EU Parliament’s final CAP vote
Calling for a greener and fairer CAP, several hundred farmers and consumers in colourful costumes from 12 countries came together in Strasbourg today for a series of actions outside the European Parliament as MEPs held their final debate on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) before the plenary vote on March 13th.
Strasbourg 12.03.2013 – Today’s action ‘Farms instead of Factories’ kicked off with an open-air cooking event and a live DJ, and ended with a human chain in front of the Parliament. Leaders from the European movements for the environment, good food and good farming gave speeches. Many MEPs came to meet those outside and share a bowl of soup. The event was coordinated by ARC2020 (1) as part of their Good Food Good Farming campaign (2), and supported by 27 additional organisations (3).
Among their key concerns are the suggestions of the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee to water down the EU Commission reform proposals of improving all farmers’ environmental performance through mandatory greening measures; the impact of Europe’s farming policy on global hunger, biodiversity and climate change; and an unfair concept of subsidies that aims to drive small farmers out of business.
Tomorrow, for the first time, with the same power as EU Agricultural Ministers, the 754 elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will vote on the future direction of Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Most of the more than 50 billion euros of taxpayers’ money spent on the CAP ends up in the pockets of the agricultural industry and big landowners, rather than being used to support farmers and their communities who produce healthy food, protect our environment and keep the countryside alive.
Hubert Weiger, Chairman of BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) said, “Misguided farm subsidies and monocultures are the main causes of food scandals and the loss of biodiversity in the agricultural regions of Europe. In the places where animal and plant species are on the Red List, so too are farms; displaced by industrialised agriculture.” He urged that, “In the future, every farm must cultivate at least seven percent of arable land without pesticides and artificial fertilizers. We rely on the good sense of the EU Parliament to finally enforce appropriate policy reforms. With over 50 billion euros going towards agricultural subsidies, society expects appropriate legal consideration to be given to the environment and animal welfare.”
Ramona Duminicioiu, campaigner from Romanian NGO EcoRuralis told the MEPs, “In Romania there are still over 4 million peasants. The EU Parliament must listen: Stop draining our common resources down the corporate pipeline,” adding, “We want to continue working on our farms and not end up as strawberry pickers elsewhere in Europe. Today the course must be set so that we young people in Romania, and in many other European countries, can have a future in our rural areas.”
Aurélie Trouvé of Attac France demanded, “We must end the import of GMO soybeans whose cultivation is destroying ancient rainforests in the South to produce surpluses in the North. These surpluses in Europe will later destroy African markets through dumping of products. The European Parliament must stop the damaging effects of our food system in developing countries. The first step towards this aim: end export subsidies immediately!”
Philippe Collin from Confédération Paysanne highlighted that, “In Europe, 80 percent of all agricultural subsidies go to just 20 percent of agricultural enterprises! It is time the European Parliament ensures fairness for all farmers. Our work on the farms must become profitable again and not mere land ownership.” He added, “We expect MEPs to vote for the future economic viability of the majority of 80 percent of farms in Europe.”
Photos available here: http://tinyurl.com/StrasbourgPhoto
Notes to Editors
1 The Agricultural and Rural Convention 2020 (ARC2020), was created in early 2010 as a platform to enable concerned citizens and their organisations to advocate a sustainable reform of the Common Agricultural and Rural Development policies of the European Union. Active within the platform is a wide array of over 150 civil society organisations, at European, national, regional and local level. They represent a great variety of interests, including the environment, agro-ecology, farmers, consumers, rural communities, local food, nature protection, cultural heritage, animal welfare, public health and organic food. www.arc2020.eu
3 Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft, BUNDjugend, Bioland, Brot für die Welt, Campact, Conféderation Paysanne, Deutscher Berufs-und Erwerbsimker Bund, Demeter, Deutscher Tierschutz Bund, Disco Soupe, EcoRuralis, IFOAM EU Group, Le Jeunes Ecologistes, European Professional Beekeeper Association, Friends of the Earth Europe, Junge AbL, Les Amis de la Conféderation Paysanne, Mellifera, Meine Landwirtschaft, NABU, ÖBV – Via Campesina Austria, Pig Business, Save Our Seeds, Slow Food Deutschland, Slow Food France, Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft.
FRENCH Pierre-Alain Prevost, ARC2020 Campaign Coordinator for France
Tel: +33 (0)6 65 78 54 90 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ENGLISH Kate Mann, ARC2020 Communications Manager
Tel: +49 (0) 30 28482326 Email: email@example.com Mobile: +33 (0) 6 60 78 32 65
GERMAN Iris Kiefer, Media and Press, Meine Landwirtschaft
Tel: +49 (0) 30 28482437 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: +49 (0) 157 84910302