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EU Approves Farm Policy Reforms in Wake of Widespread Farmer Protests

EU Approves Farm Policy Reforms in Wake of Widespread Farmer Protests

May 16, 2024

EU Approves Farm Policy Reforms in Wake of Widespread Farmer Protests

The European Union has enacted revisions to its common agricultural policy (CAP) after widespread protests from farmers across the continent. The Council of the European Union confirmed the adoption of strategic plan amendments, which aim to alleviate administrative burdens on farmers and address concerns over EU farming rules.

"The policy was updated to simplify the rules and reduce administrative burdens on the bloc's framers," according to the Council's statement. The majority supported the changes, with Germany alone abstaining from the vote.

The revisions stem from proposals by the EU Commission in response to the backlash against the EU's Green Deal. The European Green Deal set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels, and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The revised law exempts smaller farms under 10 hectares from certain controls and penalties, a measure that will apply to 65 percent of subsidy-receiving farmers, representing only 10 percent of EU land. This adjustment is set to "reduce the administrative burden for many."

The European Parliament approved these revisions in late April, which will come into full effect from January 2023.

Protests began in the Netherlands in 2019 and have since spread across Europe, with farmers rallying against EU climate policies and competition from imports, notably from Ukraine after the EU waived duties to support the country post-invasion. The requirement for farmers to leave 4 percent of land fallow, now relaxed, was a significant point of contention.

In Poland, the farmers' trade union "Solidarity" has been particularly active, with recent protests in Warsaw and even hunger strikes among farmers demanding dialogue with Polish authorities. Protesters argue that the Green Deal inflicts economic harm on Polish agriculture and associated sectors.

Over 140 NGOs, including Greenpeace, have condemned the EU's relaxation of environmental rules. Conversely, Copa-Cogeca, a leading farmers' association in Europe, welcomed the policy revisions. The group sees the changes as a positive response to the urgent concerns raised by farmers and encourages the swift application of these revisions at the national level.

Copa-Cogeca also calls for further simplification of the regulations by the EU Commission.

The Epoch Times Article


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