EU farmer groups to join CAP protest march in Brussels today

A demonstration being organised by farmers’ organisations during the meeting of EU heads of state or government in Brussels later today, Thursday, February 20, will be supported by EU young farmers’ association CEJA.

Alongside its Belgian member organisations – Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs, of Wallonia, and Flemish young farmer group Groene Kring – CEJA is calling for a strong budget to ensure the ambitions of the new commission are met and generational renewal in the agriculture sector takes place.

The protest will take place between 12:30pm and 2:30pm local time this afternoon in the Rue de la Loi / Schuman area of Brussels.

According to a recently published draft of the EU’s budget proposal, the CAP envelope will be reduced considerably compared to the current programming period.

Pillar II funds, fundamental to ensuring young people enter and remain in the agriculture sector, are to suffer drastic cuts, CEJA noted.

CEJA president Jannes Maes commented on this, stating: “It will be impossible for the EU to have its ‘man on the moon moment’, to use the words of President von der Leyen, without strong financial backing for each of its ambitions.

The budget being proposed is inadequate. It is the equivalent of trying to get that person to the moon using only a rope ladder.

Groene Kring president, Bram Van Hecke, added to this, saying: “Young farmers are the future of our food production, our open space and our countryside. An investment in young farmers is thus an investment in future generations.

“Yet, the budgetary cut that is proposed shows a complete lack of a sense of reality and is therefore unacceptable for young farmers,” the president said.

Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs president, Pierre André, concluded, noting: “Without a strong CAP budget, generational renewal in agriculture is in danger. Without generational renewal, agriculture is in danger.

European agriculture is a guarantee [for] quality food, but also an essential ally in the fight against global warming and forms the cement that holds the EU together.

“It therefore guarantees a prosperous economy and stable society,” André said.