Editorial - The European Commission must discuss move away from abstractions when discussing agriculture


The Cattle Site

29 April 2021


In an opinion piece, Copa and Cogeca Vice President and crop farmer Pedro Gallardo explains that the European Commission's response on novel genomic techniques (NGTs) must evolve beyond an abstract debate and focus on workable solutions.


In October 2019, the newly elected European Commission released its Farm to Fork strategy with great fanfare. With a strong focus on the “fork” part of the equation, the Commission proposed ambitious targets in all the major agronomic areas: 50% reduction in plant protection products, 20% less fertiliser, 10% of agricultural area devoted to non-productive uses, 25% organic. The effect of the announcement was perfect and who would want to argue with the general principles this strategy espouses?


The Farm to Fork strategy and its related "Green Deal" have opened a new era in Brussels in terms of agriculture— an era of discussions on general principles. Today we are discussing macro aggregates whose consequences are very difficult to measure and whose impacts are unpredictable.


Is there any proof of this? We have been waiting for a year now for an impact assessment – a standard EU procedure - on the various effects of such a policy and its implications for the Union's trade policy. The response from the European Commission: nothing. To top it all off, and certainly an historic first, it is the US Department of Agriculture that has produced the first study on what should be THE EU flagship agricultural policy. Does this prevent discussions from moving forward, and online debates to multiply despite the growing distance that COVID-19 is creating between fields and the European decision-maker? No...


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