GUE/NGL MEPs urge Commission to protect the viability of EU agricultural production
An oral question to the European Commission on "Measures to alleviate the crisis in the European agriculture sector" was on this morning's agenda at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. GUE/NGL MEPs put the blame for this crisis squarely at the feet of Commissioner Hogan for failing to protect the viability of EU agricultural production and European farmers' interests.
Galician MEP, Lidia Senra Rodríguez, GUE/NGL coordinator on the Agriculture Committee, said: "This agricultural crisis highlights the great failure of neoliberal direction the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been taking. It is essential that we move away from these proposals and practices, which have been repeated over the past 30 years, and which have brought us to the situation we find ourselves in today."
"We need proper public agriculture policies based on regulating production, prioritising domestic markets and guaranteeing that production remains within the hands of farmers in the European Union.
She continued: "We need the prices of agricultural products to be at the centre of the CAP, as well as a fair share-out of the right to produce.This is the only way we can respond to this emergency situation, otherwise the state of crisis will continue."
There was a unanimous agreement among GUE/NGL MEPs on the risk of implementing neoliberal policies in the agricultural market and the dramatic consequences for European farmers.
Referring to that, Irish MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan called on Commissioner Hogan to remember his responsibilities to the farming community and reject the Mercosur deal, because "The trade deal with the South American countries will completely undermine the viability of agricultural sector."
Irish MEP, Matt Carthy said: ""We are in a unique situation today whereby all the members in the parliament are in agreement about the crisis facing farmers. However, you, Commissioner are failing to address it! While I can at least be thankful that we have moved from a situation of the Commissioner's denial of any crisis to acceptance, the measures you have enacted do not go far enough. Earlier in your speech you asked us to be patient, to wait for the measures to sink in, however farmers we are dealing with don't have time."
"I am of the firm belief that intervention prices should be increased, so why wait any longer? I also want to reiterate remarks made by my colleagues about the dangers of the Mercosur Trade deal discussed this week in the AGRIFISH Council. Mercosur would be unequivocally damaging to the EU agriculture sector, and we need assurances from the Commission that sensitivity will be shown" - he concluded.
Spanish MEP, Estefanía Torres Martínez agreed with her colleagues and remarked: "It is meaningless to talk about financial aid to farmers insofar as the Commission keeps negotiating the TTIP. As a matter of fact - she added - "This agreement will lead to an increase in the imports of American products into the EU, causing a dramatic drop in the prices of our domestic products." Therefore, she concluded: "I am wondering when do we start looking after our farmers? We must change our economic growth paradigm and our productive model."
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)
European Parliamentary Group