Brussels, 1st February 2024 – Hundreds of peasant farmers from European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) have assembled with their tractors in Place du Luxembourg, Brussels, alongside more than 30 civil society organisations to call for an end to the EU-Mercosur deal and other free trade agreements (FTAs), and ensure fair prices for farmers.
Small-scale farmers from across Europe answered the call for European mobilisation in Brussels, sent by ECVC and one of its Belgian organisations FUGEA on Monday, in order to drive forward concrete change for farmers on the doorstep of European policy makers. For ECVC, Europe’s neo-liberal policies are the main cause of the discontent of farmers that has been seen at the national level in recent weeks.
ECVC peasant farmers also underline that they come to Brussels not to destroy anything, but to bring concrete proposals for the future of food and farming in Europe. Through coordinated European farmer mobilisations, which have also seen strong support from civil society, we want to put the demands of farmers at the centre of EU decision-making.
Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski and the cabinet of Charles Michel, President of the European Council, will meet ECVC after the mobilisation to discuss these demands. However, despite multiple requests since Monday, Ursula Von der Leyen and David Clarinval failed to respond to the request to meet. Particularly in the context of the recently launched Strategic Dialogue on Agriculture, the lack of political will to create transparent spaces for farmers to address the incoherencies that they live on a daily basis is unacceptable.
For ECVC, the epitome of these incoherencies is the continued negotiations of the EU-Mercosur FTA. As Morgan Ody, farmer in Brittany and member of the ECVC Coordinating Committee, underlined in her opening speech at the manifestation, “FTAs have pushed farmers towards export-oriented production, with prices that do not cover production costs and policies that favour large-scale industrial actors. The EU-Mercosur agreement must be brought to an end definitively, alongside all FTAs we want a new international trade framework based on food sovereignty.”.
Instead, small-scale farmers must be supported by market regulation that guarantee agricultural prices are stable and higher than production costs. The EU must re-establish intervention prices and minimum prices for all products. The directive on Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) must be implemented, with the Spanish food chain law used as a positive example. It must also ensure a sufficient budget and an equitable distribution of CAP aid to facilitate a fair transition towards agroecology and sustainable practices. Farmers must also be supported in this transition by minimising the administrative burden.
More information and pictures from the mobilisation here .