May 14, 2019
Author: Daniel Peyraube (CEPM President)
If there is one sector that should be convinced of the importance of the European project, it is agriculture. Thanks to the CAP, agriculture is the only ‘integrated’ policy of the Union. The current context of great uncertainty (Brexit, questions of identity, budget) and multiple fears (terrorism, immigration, climate change) does not change anything. We are stronger when we are united. Alone we might perhaps go quickly, but together we can go far. Therefore we all have to mobilise ourselves in these upcoming elections. We must vote to say ‘yes’ to Europe.
Furthermore, we must not be naïve, as everything is not perfect – far from it – whether we speak about EU policies or EU governance. There is massive scope to improve, and many works in progress. For maize growers more than others, the stakes are high. First, the Common Agricultural Policy has become unreadable, both for our fellow citizens – who no longer see that it guarantees them healthy, abundant and low-priced food – and for farmers who see nothing but the fuss and hassle of a dominant bureaucracy. Others who have an idealised view of agriculture forget that it must remain first and foremost an economic activity, and an activity of production.
The issue is not about opposition, whether between agriculture and ecology, agriculture and the fight against climate change, agriculture and the preservation of natural resources. The real issue is about allowing EU agriculture to be part of the solution, to take on the challenges of a world seeking a balance between respect for the environment, food security and technological evolution.
Therefore, the scope of concerns is immense, and maize producers are ready to face the challenges. But as the proverb goes: “God helps those who help themselves.” Europe must support our efforts, not condemn them on the altar of international trade.
The European Union has in the past two years become the world’s leading importer of maize, while our regions are competitive in field crops; but those regions suffer from multiple distortions of competition that penalise them heavily in the face of their competitors. Europe needs maize, but it must allow our farmers to produce it by ensuring good working conditions, access to innovative solutions, income and recognition. Like many of our fellow citizens, we want a progressive Europe that looks to the future. For this European Union, let’s get out and vote!
Contact: Céline Duroc, Permanent Delegate : +33 6 87 61 80 48