A report from Madrid
Minister for Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs, Rosa Aguilar expressed her disappointment following the presentation of the European Commission’s legislative proposals for the new CAP on 12th October. The proposals “do not respond to the challenges that currently face European agriculture” she said. During a press conference, Rosa Aguilar identified the policy areas on which the Government will maintain a firm position. These were the direct payment model, “greening”, the convergence between Member States and the redistribution of aid in each, measures of market competitiveness and rural development.
Regarding ‘greening’, the Minister stated that although the concept of ‘greening’ is a positive step, the Spanish Government believes it will be necessary to review the level of 30% of greening on direct payments, highlighting that many farmers already implemented environmental measures.
In Madrid, a group of activists from ecologist and farmers’ organisations, under the common identity of Plataforma Rural-Alianzas por un Mundo Rural Vivo, protested shortly before the official presentation of the CAP proposal at the EU building. They denounced the proposals which they feel are unable to defend family farming, protect the environment and curb the control of the supply chain by large companies.
Jerome Aguado, president of Plataforma Rural said “Rural farmers demand fair prices for food production, allowing a fair income.” Daniel Lopez of Ecologists in Action said “instead of supporting family farming and sustainability, the proposals seem to continue investing in large landowners and agribusiness. They also fail to address issues common to dry Mediterranean countries like Spain, such as desertification, contamination of soil and water and the grassland maintenance for extensive stewardship.” Friends of the Earth said “The agricultural model currently promoted by the CAP is leading to the disappearance of farmers at an unacceptable rate. We need a radical reform of policies for European agriculture to increase the number of farmers, protect the environment and reduce dependence on excessive use of resources in southern countries.”