European Union tries to keep Ukrainian agriculture afloat

There is no majority in the European Parliament to reconsider the Climate Vision Green Deal and the farm-to-fork food strategy, as the Russian war in Ukraine puts food supply at risk.

Two proposals by the EPP Christian Democrats, supported by the conservative ECR and right-wing nationalists, to 'reassess' or 'suspend' proposed environmental restrictions in agriculture were rejected.

The Ukraine war is causing a shortage of food in Ukraine and possibly elsewhere in the world. The European Parliament therefore wants measures in the short term to maintain the food supply. Furthermore, agricultural production in the EU will increase by not leaving land fallow.

To avoid shortages and high prices, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling for an action plan. Similarly, much more food aid should go to Ukraine and the EU should open food corridors to and from Ukraine, as an alternative to the Ukrainian Black Sea ports closed by the Russians. Farmers in the Eastern European country must also be supplied with diesel, seeds and fertilizers.

Because less food can be imported to the EU due to the Ukraine war, the MEPs demand that their own production of EU increases. They also want all available agricultural land to be used only for the production of food and animal feed (and not for the construction of solar panel parks). 

Fallow land should be used quickly this year to grow protein crops such as wheat and grain. And the hardest hit industries should receive financial support, Parliament said. Furthermore, EU countries must be able to provide broad, fast and flexible state support to parties in the agricultural market.

The Dutch MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen (SGP) thinks that is a good thing. He also thinks it is “very appropriate that the majority of the European Parliament calls in the resolution to expand its own agricultural production, to create more space for fertilizer substitutes, to help farmers and horticulturists to cope with the consequences of the war, under more by allowing state aid”.

Several other Dutch MEPs are critical of the package. "And I'm a bit surprised at the attempt by the Christian Democrats to use this crisis to undermine and delay the Green Deal, the farm-to-fork strategy and the biodiversity strategy," said MEP Mohammed Chahim (PvdA).

His colleague Anja Hazenkamp (PvdD) agrees. Parliamentarian Annie Schreijer-Pierek (CDA) disagrees with them. According to her, the farm-to-fork strategy and the biodiversity strategy undermine European food production.