The new European Green Deal will be a “chance” for European farmers – on the condition that they are “treated as part of the solution, not as a problem”.

These were the words of the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowski, who spoke last Friday, January 17, at the opening of International Green Week in Berlin.

The comment was received by applause from those in attendance, as the commissioner addressed concerns over new environmental measures from the EU, and how these will affect the farming community.

The European Green Deal is a priority for the European Commission. It is a big challenge for all society, for all of the economy, and also for agriculture.

“The green deal can be a chance for European farmers, but there is one condition: Farmers should be treated as part of the solution, not as a problem,” Commissioner Wojciechowski argued.

He added: “European farmers need appropriate support for their new obligations, for their new tasks [under] the green deal, and this is a very important issue for the future CAP [Common Agriculture Policy].”

The commissioner also said that the new CAP (which was originally supposed to commence in 2021, but has been delayed) should be more “innovative”.

Commissioner Wojciechowski outlined the need for a CAP that offered “opportunities for flexibility to use instruments that are appropriate to the special situations in the member states”.

“Our European farmers ensure food supply security for 500 million European citizens – but we should ensure security for our farmers,” the commissioner stressed.

He went on to highlight some of the other major issues facing European agriculture – including generational renewal.

“We should remember that there are a lot of threats for European farming. For example, during one decade [2005-2015] we lost four million farms in the EU. The number of farms was reduced from 14 million to 10 million,” Commissioner Wojciechowski explained.

In a day, 1,000 farms disappeared. This is a very big problem.

Toward the end of his speech, the commissioner remarked that the EU “should better protect our farmers” on international trade, and highlighted the need for the “same standards for imports as for European producers”.