The European Commission gives in to the farmers

George Marinescu
English Section / 14 februarie

The European Commission gives in to the farmers

Versiunea în limba română

The European Commission yesterday approved a temporary regulation on derogations from the Common Agricultural Policy Among them is the derogation regarding GAEC 8 - leaving part of the farm land fallow The decision of the Brussels forum comes after the protests of European farmers in the last month

Protests by farmers in EU member states were crowned with success yesterday when the European Commission adopted the regulation granting a partial exemption for European farmers from the rule forcing them to leave land fallow (GAEC 8) this year.

The new regulation, which is in force today, will apply partially retroactively, i.e. between 1 January and 31 December 2024. The partial exemption responds to requests for more flexibility, as requested by Member States to better respond to challenges with facing EU farmers.

Instead of keeping land fallow or retaining non-productive features on 4% of their arable land, EU farmers planting nitrogen-fixing crops (such as lentils, peas or fava beans) and/or non-yielding catch crops will be considered of plant protection on 4% of their arable land will meet the requirement. Farmers who choose to do so may, however, continue to meet the requirement with fallow or unproductive land.

Member States wishing to apply the derogation at national level must notify the Commission within 15 days, starting yesterday, February 13, a notification that does not have to be approved by the institution in Brussels.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: "This measure gives flexibility to farmers while continuing to reward them for their crucial work in boosting food security and sustainability in the EU. We will soon present several proposals to help ease the pressure our farmers are facing."

For his part, Janusz Wojciechowski, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, stated: "I welcome the decision to grant a partial derogation from GAEC 8 and I believe that it will also be welcomed by many farmers throughout the European Union. This reflects the extraordinary circumstances facing our farming community and demonstrates that the Commission is listening, engaging and responding to these needs in real time."

We note that in the previous proposal the European Commission wanted to replace 4% fallow with 7% of cultivated land with nitrogen-fixing crops, without pesticides or 7% with a weighting factor of 0.33 secondary crops, other than legumes, also without pesticides.

We remind you that during January and the first part of February, hundreds of thousands of farmers from Romania, France, Germany, the Netherlands and other EU member states took to the streets to protest against the harsh environmental policies of the European Commission, policies which would lead to significant financial losses for agricultural producers. In our country, the protest took place between January 9 and February 2, when Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu signed an agreement with the protesters regarding the timing of the decisions that the Government will take to solve the problems faced by farmers and transporters.

Regarding measures GAEC 7 (crop rotation) and GAEC 8 (leaving part of the farm land fallow), Florin Barbu, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, told the AgriFish Council meeting to the European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski that, if they are not once the demands of European farmers are settled, then everyone in EU farming needs to resign and go home.

Farmers' grievances were the subject of a debate last week in the European Parliament, where MEPs from the Strasbourg forum called on Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, to find solutions quickly. On the same day, in his speech in the European Parliament, President Klaus Iohannis asked EU leaders to pay attention to the needs of farmers and to reduce the distance between the political class and ordinary citizens.