The agro-industry wants to derail the European strategy “from the farm to the fork” (“Farm to Fork”), the agricultural component of the Green Deal (“Green Deal”) announced in December 2019 by the President of the European Commission , Ursula von der Leyen. Several internal documents from the European Federation of Agricultural Trade Unions and Cooperatives (COPA-Cogeca), including The world got a copy, highlight the “Red lines” considered as crossed by the European project.
Those documents also detail the lobbying maneuvers currently being deployed, aimed at obtaining the withdrawal of key provisions from the text. In particular, COPA-Cogeca plans to use its partnerships with the online European news journal Euractiv to influence the public discussion. In sight: the parliamentary debate and the vote on the text, in plenary session, scheduled for October 21, and that COPA-Cogeca hopes to see postponed to November in order to have more time to influence the public debate .
The “Red lines” of COPA-Cogeca are diverse. The first, defined as crucial, concerns the binding objectives of reducing the use of pesticides and antibiotics in livestock farming (50% reduction by 2030), as well as those relating to the reduction of fertilizers – l he ambition is to reduce nutrient leakage by 50%, a major source of nitrate pollution and green algae blooms. According to its internal documents, COPA-Cogeca wishes these objectives to be removed from the text.
That’s not all. As it stands, the European agricultural strategy points to the risks of the emergence of zoonoses (diseases transmissible between humans and animals) presented by factory farms which concentrate animals of similar genotype in the same buildings. The COPA-Cogeca text calls for the gradual abandonment of these practices.
Variable VAT deemed undesirable
The points of tension do not only concern production methods but also the marketing of agricultural products. COPA-Cogeca therefore wishes to exclude any measure aimed at setting maximum levels of sugars, fats and salt in processed foods. Also in view are provisions aimed at informing consumers about the nutritional qualities of food products, the origin of the agricultural products used, sustainability and production methods, and animal welfare.
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