Sunday 6 December 2020
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European agriculture fears greater reduction in air pollution

The European agricultural umbrella organizations Copa and Cogeca believe that the Environment Committee of the European Parliament does not take sufficient account of European agriculture and food production.

Last week, the ENVI committee in Brussels decided that the EU Climate Policy should further reduce air and soil pollution in ten years' time: not to about 50 to 55 percent, but 60 percent. This is expected to be officially announced this week by EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans.

After last week's vote in the Environment Committee on the environmental climate law, Copa and Cogeca underline in a joint statement the importance of greenhouse gas reduction in such a way that it does not threaten food production.

The farmers 'and forest owners' umbrella organizations believe that even if the ENVI committee made some improvements, Climate Policy still does not adequately address the role of agriculture and the consequences it could have in Europe's rural areas.

Moreover, Copa-Cogeca point to the differences of opinion between the political groups in the Environment Committee, which probably also apply in the entire European Parliament. In recent months it has already become apparent in the European political arena that most decisions on Green Deal, Climate Policy, biodiversity and food security are now being prepared by the Environment Committee, and that the AGRI Agriculture Committee is no longer leading.

According to the agricultural umbrella organizations, the strategic importance of food production and food security must be more specifically highlighted, especially if climate adaptation and greenhouse gas reduction could pose a threat. European agro-cooperatives would like to see their key role better recognized.

In doing so, Pekka Pesonen, the Secretary General of Copa and Cogeca underlined: “Since 1990, the agricultural sector has achieved one of the most significant reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions with a 20 percent decrease. The efforts of the European agricultural community to adapt to constantly changing climatic conditions, while ensuring food security and ecosystem services, need sustainable financing, in parallel with constant innovation of production methods. “

With the latter reference he referred to the continuing criticism of the level of the CAP agricultural budget for the coming years. Next week, it must be made clear in Brussels whether the European Parliament agrees to the multi-annual budget as established in the EU summit meeting in July between the heads of government and the European Commission. The European Parliament believes that too much has been cut in that budget, and wants an extra 110 billion euros for future-oriented innovation.

Moreover, the European Parliament is not at all satisfied that the heads of state have still not established that the European Union may levy its own taxes in order to attract new income. Anyway, to be able to pay back the hundreds of billions of the economic corona recovery fund in the future, extra money needs to be put on the table.

The European Parliament would like to see the EU be able to work on its own income from now on, and no longer have to be entirely dependent on the 'financial willingness' of the EU countries.

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