26 February, Brussels: ECVC issues a call to mobilize against free trade agreements

ECVC calls its members to join FUGEA, Boerenforum and MAP, its member organisations in Belgium, in their call to action to take to the streets of Brussels once more from 11am on 26 February at Schuman roundabout.

ECVC is calling on its members to come to Brussels on 26 February to demand real progress from policy makers around the demands of small- and medium-scale farmers during the next agricultural Council of Ministers meeting. The mobilisation, organised by FUGEA and supported by Boerenforum and MAP, will also mobilise a wide array of civil society allies. Together, we will look to secure concrete measures and protection for farmers in the shape of:

  • Ending free trade agreements and unfair competition, starting with the definitive end of EU-Mercosur agreement negotiations.
  • Regulating markets and making the directive on Unfair Trading Practices mandatory, using the Spanish food chain law as a positive example, in order to guarantee fair and stable prices that cover production costs and the work of farmers, and are protected from speculation.
  • Ensuring a sufficient budget and an equitable distribution of CAP aid to facilitate a fair transition towards agroecology and sustainable practices!
  • Reducing the administrative burden for farmers.
  • Stopping the deregulation of GMOs/new genomic techniques.

In response, to the last farmer mobilisations, the Commission moved to put a stop to measures and legislation aimed at protecting the environment and biodiversity. EU policy makers have again failed to listen to the majority voices of farmers, instead choosing to put forward proposals designed to appease the interests of large industrial agri-business actors.

Farmers’ current realities are the result of several decades of neo-liberal policies that have deepened social inequalities and undermined the environment. The Commission must change its approach and move away from liberal dogmas if it wants to ensure a future for the rapidly shrinking number of farms and farmers who feed European populations.

From 26 to 29 February, the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference will also be held in Abu Dhabi. The WTO bears immense responsibility for the current social and environmental crises. At a time when farmers’ mobilisations are multiplying all over Europe, as well as in India, Africa and Latin America, it is time to bring an end to the WTO and build a new trade framework based on food sovereignty and international solidarity.

It is essential that policy makers recognise what is at stake and stop ignoring the alternative solutions that are being put forward by small-scale farmers. ECVC and its member organisations will continue to take to the streets to ensure policymakers listen to the structural, concrete and coherent solutions we have to offer to reduce the glaring injustices of the current economic system.