how can conflicting pursuits converge? | EUROtoday

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Emmanuel Macron has deliberate a significant debate on the Agricultural Show on Saturday. He will attempt to put an finish to a disaster that has lasted for a lot of weeks, regardless of a number of authorities bulletins. But he’ll face many actors with divergent pursuits, who will probably be very troublesome to succeed in settlement with and who frequently spotlight the president's personal contradictions.

The assembly guarantees to be electrical. The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, will inaugurate the International Agricultural Show (SIA), Saturday February 24, with “an unfiltered and free-wheeling debate”, in keeping with the Élysée system, with farmers. The anger of the latter, which peaked on the finish of January with a number of blocked highways, has solely partially subsided for the reason that numerous authorities bulletins.

The press convention of Prime Minister Gabriel Attal on Wednesday February 21 is the most recent illustration of this. Despite new measures regarding the usage of pesticides in France or the announcement of a brand new model of the Egalim regulation for the summer time, farmers are sustaining the stress. The majority agricultural union FNSEA and the Young Farmers (JA) have notably deliberate in Paris on Friday night a “procession” of farmers led by a couple of tractors and ending in entrance of the doorways of the Show, the place a number of of them might camp till the arrival of the president the following day. For its half, Rural Coordination, the second union within the sector, can be planning an illustration on Friday in Paris.

The anticipation surrounding the Head of State's go to to the Agricultural Show could be very excessive. The President of the Republic should embody “the software change” of France and Europe on agriculture, and the emphasis positioned on “French food sovereignty”, underlined the boss of the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau, Wednesday on France 5.

Added to this context is the necessity for an ecological transition introduced by the federal government as important and the looming European elections (June 9), for which polls give the National Rally (RN) nicely forward, far forward of the checklist. of the presidential majority. However, by desirous to fulfill the primary farmers' unions, whereas pursuing each the environmental and climatic goals of France and electoral goals towards the RN, Emmanuel Macron's process guarantees to be delicate, because the contradictions are quite a few. . Overview.

  • On meals sovereignty

Gabriel Attal promised Wednesday to position agriculture “among the fundamental interests” of the nation, in the identical manner as safety or protection. “The objective of agricultural and food sovereignty” will probably be written “black and white” sooner or later agricultural orientation invoice, he mentioned.

Since the manager talked about meals sovereignty through the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 after which throughout Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the notion has by no means been clearly outlined. The future “bill for sovereign agriculture” is tackling this, in keeping with Le Parisien, which was capable of seek the advice of the doc. “French food sovereignty means the ability to ensure its food supply within the framework of the internal market of the European Union and its international commitments,” signifies the invoice, in keeping with the every day.

However, there are “several contradictions” on this goal, notes Thierry Pouch, economist, head of the research and foresight division on the Permanent Assembly of Chambers of Agriculture, affiliate researcher on the REGARDS laboratory on the University of Reims Champagne- Ardennes.

“On the ban on imports of vegatables and fruits handled with thiacloprid, for instance, the thought of ​​sovereignty would require us to provoke a manufacturing coverage which makes it doable to deal with the introduced scarcity of those merchandise. However, nothing was introduced regarding this part”, underlines the researcher.

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Furthermore, and even if the executive repeatedly repeats that France is opposed to the conclusion of the free trade treaty between the European Union and the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) , it not only remains present at the table of negotiations, which have lasted for more than 20 years, but also subscribes to the logic of the free trade treaties desired by Brussels. However, these treaties result in the importation of foreign products which threaten certain French sectors, in addition to increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, while waiting for the government's precise definition of “agricultural and meals sovereignty”, “everybody will have the ability to hear what they need”, believes Thierry Pouch. A way for the executive to satisfy both those in favor of the ecological transition and those who are more reluctant.

  • On the ecological transition

The Prime Minister's series of announcements concerning pesticides, in particular, particularly irritated environmental defenders. Between the pausing of the Écophyto plan and the abandonment of Nodu, the indicator used to measure the reduction in the use of pesticides in France, in favor of the European indicator HRI-1, considered less effective by NGOs, the disappointment is great.

“It is a renunciation of a French ambition that is more protective of the health of citizens and farmers,” Sandrine Bélier of the Humanity and Biodiversity association told AFP. “This decision clearly goes against history,” lamented Thomas Uthayakumar, director of advocacy at the Foundation for Nature and Man. “This clearly goes against all the recommendations. Changing the thermometer is not the solution,” he added. It is “a total repudiation” of the Écophyto plan and a “real sleight of hand which will put a stop to any dynamic in terms of change towards agroecological production systems”, criticizes the Générations futures association.

“There is no questioning of our objectives in terms of environmental protection, the same goes for the fight against global warming,” insists the Élysée, while Emmanuel Macron had affirmed , between the two rounds of the 2022 presidential election, that his future five-year term “will be ecological or it will not be”.

Beyond the issue of pesticides, the government remains in a productivist logic put in place at the end of the Second World War and advocated by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union, even though a study of the French Nutrition Society and Climate Action Network published on February 20 invites the French to halve their meat consumption to reduce their carbon footprint in particular.

“We cannot make fundamentally different types of agriculture coexist,” said Gaspard Manesse, spokesperson for the Confédération paysanne d’Île-de-France, the third agricultural union which defends another vision of agriculture, on February 21 on France Bleu Paris. agriculture than that of the FSNEA. So to put it: the government must make a choice and stop trying to please everyone.

  • On farmers' income

Gabriel Attal announced on February 21 a new version for the summer of the Egalim law, the aim of which was to improve producers' income. This will be a fourth version of this text, which has failed to achieve its objectives so far.

The question of income is central to farmers' demands and is shared by all unions. However, and unlike other issues for which the government prides itself on having been able to respond quickly – 50% of the 62 commitments made have already been achieved according to Matignon – “the question of remuneration is still before us”, admitted the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, Thursday morning on France Bleu Armorique.

“We are faced with mainly large retail chains (…) who have batteries of lawyers” who “know how to circumvent” the law, he declared. “In truth, a certain number of people in mass distribution did not want Egalim (…) because they do not want regulation (…). We are not going to back down from these powers “, added the minister.

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“We can clearly see in this speech that there is the European elections in the background, judges Thierry Pouch. The economy and politics are intertwined, in particular with the idea launched by the government and the majority of a law European Egalim. However, convincing all European partners seems to me to be an impossible mission: what production costs will serve as a reference? They are not the same in France and Poland. Not to mention the fact that the war in Ukraine is also passed this way, with an inflationary shock which discouraged consumers from buying 'high-end' products. Organic products have been particularly affected in recent months.”

It therefore appears difficult to want to both fight against inflation by trying to keep prices as low as possible, while also wanting to see farmers' remuneration increase. A distributor points out this contradiction in Challenges by recalling: “Less than a year ago, Bercy imposed on us the launch of an anti-inflation basket. Today, political leaders criticize us for lowering prices too much.”

All of these contradictory objectives will be at the heart of the debate that Emmanuel Macron will have with farmers on Saturday. Will it succeed in reconciling all the players in the agricultural world – producers, manufacturers, distributors and environmental defenders? “This debate must bring us all together, insists the Élysée. It must make it possible to build together a common vision of French agriculture.”

However, it seems troublesome to convey collectively stakeholders with such divergent pursuits. Learning that the environmentalist collective Earth Uprisings was invited to the controversy, the FNSEA shortly warned that it could not take part if this presence was confirmed. Emmanuel Macron most well-liked to step again. “To guarantee the serenity of the debates, Earth uprisings are not invited,” the Élysée lastly introduced Thursday night.