Do not make nature restoration a scapegoat for farmers’ struggles

Do not make nature restoration a scapegoat for farmers’ struggles

Rows of tractors pictured from a building in the Belliard street during a protest action in the European district in Brussels. Photo: BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT

Climate change and unfair global competition continue to create difficult conditions for Europe’s farmers, particularly small farmers and young farmers.

A roll-back on nature protection now does not address these underlying challenges. Any short-term impact this approach may have – felt principally by Europe’s largest farms – risks further undermining Europe’s sustainable farming model in the long term. A model that we depend on to deliver the best and healthiest food in the world.

PES Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck said:

“Ursula von der Leyen seems to care about farmers only when they’re parked in front of her door. She is not offering a real solution, but a band-aid to the challenges that family farms, small farmers and young farmers are facing.

“We believe in Europe’s farmers. We believe in restoring Europe’s nature. And we believe that these two are intrinsically linked.”

Facing a growing mutiny within her own EPP family against the European Green Deal – once described as Europe’s ‘man on the moon moment’ – the Commission President has resorted to opening the door to the further watering down of environmental protections.

As the climate crisis erodes farmers’ productive land, we believe it is time to provide the agriculture sector – especially small farmers and young farmers – with financial and technical support to overcome the effects of climate disasters and the deterioration of nature. We must support farmers’ income, jobs and their transition to sustainable agriculture, while protecting them from unfair competition and price speculation.