Timmermans urges EU politicians to the agri negotiating table

AGRI Committee - Exchange of views with EC Vice-President Timmermans on sustainable agri-food system and use of resources

EU Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans has told Members of Parliament of the Agriculture Committee that he wants to sit down with the Netherlands to get a clear picture of the consequences of the nature restoration law. This proposal is not only controversial among Dutch farmers, but also in other EU countries. 

Dutch opponents of that proposal say that the law 'locks the Netherlands' and that 'unprecedented legal consequences could arise. Timmermans disputes that, and says that precisely opponents 'lock up the current situation'. A delegation from the LNV parliamentary committee paid a working visit to Brussels yesterday afternoon (organised weeks ago). They were received by the EU Commissioners Timmermans, Sinkevicius and Wojciechoiwski, and they held discussions with several Dutch MEPs.

Due to the current situation, the working visit was entirely dominated by the discussion about the Nature Restoration Act. Moreover, the Dutch visit coincided with the annual policy exploration that Climate Commissioner Timmermans conducted with the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament. There is a lot of opposition to the proposals arising from the Green Deal philosophy of the Euro Commission.

Timmermans has told the MEPs of the Agriculture Committee that they cannot stick their heads in the sand. He called on them to face facts and reality: agriculture and food supply are under threat. Not because of the European Green Deal or the Nature Restoration Act, but because of climate change, air pollution, drought and poisoned soil and groundwater.

Timmermans did not speak from memory, but from paper, formulating it precisely, he gave a carefully prepared speech.

Timmermans asked the agri-politicians to come out of their trenches, especially the conservatives and Christian Democrats who want to reject the natural law in advance. He reiterated that he and his colleagues Sinkevicius, Kyriakides and Wojciechowski are ready to discuss "any possible compromise," "but then you have to come up with your wish lists."

The large committee meeting room of the EP in Brussels was filled to the last seat, not only by MEPs and political group employees, but also by dozens of farmers from various EU countries who had come to the debate. This gave the impression that Timmermans had entered the lion's den, but he also received support and approval among the EU politicians and the public.

Timmermans said the Commission is sticking to the course and scope of the three climate and nature laws now in circulation. He called doing nothing and waiting irresponsible. He accused the 'refusers' of risking the future of agriculture and horticulture 'against their better judgement', with a view to the European elections in more than a year. Not back to the drawing board, but forward to the negotiating table, he warned the wavers.