EU farmers call for coherence amid Mercosur deal and climate action

An EU-Mercosur deal would be potentially detrimental to European farmers’ stability, EU farm organisation CEJA has warned, calling for a coherent approach amid the EU’s dealing with Mercosur – and at the same time holding European farmers to high environmental standards.

As co-legislators are initiating new discussions for the ratification of the EU-Mercosur trade agreement, the European young farmer association underlined its concerns about the deal.

“While young farmers are willing to seize the opportunities given by international trade, they call on EU decision-makers not to make it a threat to the stability of their activity in the future,” CEJA said in a statement on the matter.

The next generation of EU farmers is “concerned about the potential harmful outcomes emerging from the EU-Mercosur agreement for producers in the most sensitive sectors”, it was added.

CEJA president Samuel Masse said: “EU agriculture is a highly strategic sector already faced with many challenges.

“As young farmers, we do not perceive how the agreement will contribute to the strategic autonomy put forward in the new EU trade strategy, nor how it will enable us to increase our competitiveness, get a fair income and thus enable our environmental and climate action.”

Confusion

CEJA said the EU-Mercosur deal is a “vector of confusion” when it comes to producing food for consumers, with concern “even more explicit” in the context of climate action goals set out under the European “Green Deal”.

The farm organisation pointed to the “high quality and environmental standards” European farmers work to in producing safe and sustainable food products, to best respond to new consumers’ demands.

Calling for coherence, European young farmers said they want non-EU partners who trade with the EU to also contribute through serious commitments against deforestation, energy efficiency and efforts to lower their environmental footprints.

CEJA said it does not believe “an additional declaration” on joint climate action commitments between the trading blocs “will manage alone to avoid or mitigate the effects such a deal may have for our agriculture”.

If agri-food products which are not coherent with EU standards are imported, there is a risk that the added value created by EU farmers within the single market is ultimately undermined, the farming organisation warned.

Masse highlighted the need for “a balanced trade policy which prevents EU products from unfair competition”.

Urging the EU to not compromise on its standards and values, he concluded: “The EU does not only aim at achieving those objectives within the internal market but also at inspiring partners all over the world to follow collectively the same ambitious path.”