BREXIT: European Agriculture Policy must pull itself together

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Of course, CAP can definitely face technically and financially, the choice of the UK to leave the European Union. However, it must, above all, draw the necessary political conclusions.

It is urgent for the EU to assume daily its true responsibilities, and especially to support, one of the greatest achievement of European integration: the Common Agricultural Policy.

This is part of a concrete and strong project on which Europe can and must rely, even though she has given sense to ignore it lately.

CAP knows how to effectively take care of its farmers and rural areas, to offer real value-added to European citizens in their everyday life, through food and rural environment. These issues are far from being old-fashioned or outdated.

Europe has demonstrated over the past decades its efficiency – no investment and growth policy has been more productive than the community means. The EU must find again its capacity to adapt to economic and social developments, and not only to environmental issues.

No more procrastinating. What is appropriate, first, is to take concrete actions on the violent crisis, to which almost all of our agricultural sectors have been confronted with.  Inaction and immobility of recent months are unworthy for a great European policy, and especially when the budgetary resources are available.

Acting now with a European crisis-plan of wide scale and immediate application, starting next week with the Council of Agriculture Ministers, the EU has the opportunity to finally put an end to this crisis with strong actions to boost milk prices.

However, now we are planning too, beyond the crisis. The CAP has never been static and cannot be it now, if it wants to meet the challenges of today, successfully. It must find the lost agility in the economic field, without falling back into its past demons, which in the past has truly discredited it (the famous “butter and milk mountains”). The 2013 reform was undoubtedly a major social reform. However, regarding its economic side, which has been impossible to build due to widespread procrastination of the Community as well as of national leaders, it must now be designed, with no excuse.

The paths opened in 2013 are too timid to face the challenges of risk and the volatility of agricultural markets. It is necessary to write a new page of the CAP, which will enable European agricultural and food processing to have all the means to shape their ambition of modernisation, combining renewed growth and effective economic and environmental sustainability.

Our farmers must be protected without complexities, enabling them to face globalisation and supporting them in a world in which European agriculture has remarkable assets to contribute to the challenge of Food security. Something that we must not lose sight of.

Investments, Resilience, and Sustainability must become the three pillars of the new CAP program, which must meet the obvious: there is no environmental sustainability without economic sustainability. This simple principle should guide the CAP in the very short-term.

Beyond concepts, this means to engage in very concrete commitments: trust the farmers on the topics of sustainability, strongly support innovation and progress, vigorously protect them from either environmental or economic risks, through powerful insurance mechanisms or mutual funds.

The CAP must establish itself as an investment policy, firmly anchored in its time, taking the challenge of modernisation of agriculture, which is ready to make a major technological leap that provides the greatest answers to the challenges of competitiveness and of sustainability, by linking them away from theories that continue to oppose sterile arguments.

This effort is now at hand. Only the political will has been lacking until now.