CPE position after Hong Kong

After Hong Kong and the European Summit

  • The destructive process of WTO continues, but the international farmers’ resistance is reinforced.
  • The current CAP, without international nor social legitimacy, is condemned before 2013: the CPE proposes another CAP, essential if we want to maintain in Europe a farmer based agricultural production.
  • With Via Campesina, we propose other rules for international trade, respecting the right of food sovereignty: they are necessary for the survival of Southern and Northern farmers .

 It is essential to change the CAP before 2013 instead of removing it.
After the EU summit and the WTO conference, year 2013 appears as datum line for the CAP. More important than the contents of the decisions taken in Brussels and Hong Kong are the very strong pressures of neo-liberal forces at the economical, political, associative and media levels, to declare 2013 as deadline for the disappearance of the European agricultural policy.

For example the very strong disparity of the agricultural support,  denounced from the beginning by the CPE, and which expresses the lack of social legitimacy of the current CAP,  is used today to require simply the suppression of the CAP, rather than to propose a new PAC based on solidarity. However if the Europeans want to maintain an agricultural production in Europe, they need a European agricultural policy. Otherwise Brazil or other countries will produce the base of our food.

The EU has chosen from 1992 to drop farm prices, making farmers’ income heavily dependent on subsidies. The EU decided in 2003 to decouple these subsidies from the production to make them approved by WTO, without modifying significantly their distribution. So the EU entered a process which leads obviously to the suppression of the subsidies. Who could believe that the taxpayers would continue to pay for a long time huge decoupled subsidies?

The European Summit has decided a budgetary re-examination in 2008: we propose this deadline for the EU to reshape the CAP, starting from a clarified debate  on farm prices, subsidies, supply management, international trade.

Hong-Kong: WTO avoided a failure but international resistance is reinforced

After the failures of Seattle and Cancun, and facing the increasing resistance of many poor countries, the most powerful countries like EU, USA Brazil and India did everything to impose the continuation of the negotiation, on a base opposed to the "development".  But there were yet no important decisions.
 The date of 2013 accepted by the EU for the end of export subsidies is not a significant "concession", since the EU already used 3 reforms of the CAP to turn its export subsidies into direct payments hidden more and more in the green box. That was more a communication tactic, just like the package "aid for trade", quasi empty of contents but used to maintain the illusion of a development round. In fact many Southern countries had to yield, facing the threat of removal of the support from World Bank.

 A generalized lowering of tariffs would ruin the production capacity of a large majority of Southern and Northern farmers facing imports at low prices. It would burden the possibility of changing the CAP in the good direction.
To produce on the cheapest way in the world, with a few euros for a day of work, that is not being “competitive”, but slave.

 The thousands of Via Campesina farmers demonstrating in Hong Kong, especially those from South Korea and Southeast Asia, with the gained support of the Hong-Kong population, succeed to express the distress and the determination of more than one billion peasants concerning these negotiations which dedicate them to disappear. All we refuse to be replaced by large plantations and animal factory farms producing at low prices for export, which will not answer the hunger or environment problems.

Facing the coming energy crisis, the current agriculture and trade policies, supervised by WTO and based on export/import, don’t have any future and their recasting is necessary.

Hong Kong made clear that essential services for the populations like water, health, education,..  are also threaten by WTO. CPE and Via Campesina ask for WTO to retire from these sectors, as from agriculture.
The failure of Doha Round in 2006 is necessary to base the rules of international trade on the food sovereignty right. This one gains ground, as for example in Mali, which registered the food sovereignty right in its constitution.
Now CPE, Via Campesina, and their many allies in the populations are continuously working to make food sovereignty an essential right. Agricultural policies based on food sovereignty is our solution against the dogma of "free"-trade, and one important answer in the fight against poverty, starvation and forced migration.