Europe has a huge agenda at the moment. The war in Ukraine is of enormous importance and affects many fundamental areas of policy. Food production and the CAP have been a feature of EU policy since the beginning but fundamental changes are in danger of being railroaded through without either sensible preparation or analysis of their effects.
Last week, in a pointed and clear letter to the three Commissioners for Agriculture, Health and Safety and Environment, an extraordinarily wide cross section of organisations involved in European farming, food production and processing asked for more involvement and consultation in the development of the Farm to Fork strategy.
Reading between the lines, it is clear that the European Commission vice-president in overall charge of this area, Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans, is ignoring all calls for consultation in this area and is determined to see his proposals pass into EU law.
What alarms many observers is that Timmermans, while an impressive linguist, has limited real knowledge of this area and refuses to engage with those that have.
The EU has been founded and developed on the basis of consultation and being guided by the science and logic underlying policy proposals
The letter from responsible organisations and businesses that play a central role in not just producing and processing food for European consumers, but also are key in establishing Europe as a key world exporter of high-quality food and drink, should make concerned citizens and not just farmers wonder what is actually going on in Brussels.
The EU has been founded and developed on the basis of consultation and being guided by the science and logic underlying policy proposals.
Empty slogans such as reducing the use of plant protection products by 50% achieve nothing except to bring the process and the institution into disrepute.
At this stage, we are now looking forward to the European Parliamentary elections to be held next June with a new Commission to be announced towards the end of next year.
The aim must be to ensure that if Commissioner Timmermans’ more extreme proposal cannot be beaten by logic that they run out of time.