The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, has advocated prioritizing support for young farmers in the new CAP, during the debate on the future of Agriculture and Food, which took place on February 12th in Seville with about a hundred citizens. In this event commemorating the 40th anniversary of ASAJA Sevilla, and held in the Palace of Exhibitions and Congresses of Seville (FIBES), the MEP of the group of Socialists and Democrats, Clara Aguilera and the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment, Isabel García Tejerina.
The future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is debated throughout Europe, but Andalusia, where more than 40% of the territory is farmland and where 25% of national agricultural production is obtained, this discussion is lived with a marked interest. For this reason, the citizen dialogue that has developed in the Andalusian capital has had a special meaning. Moderated by Sandra Sutherland, presenter and director of Agrosfera at RTVE, the event had the participation of nearly a hundred people, among whom there was a large presence of agricultural associations and representatives of the sector.
Phil Hogan: “The needs for food and beverages, where the EU is the No. 1 producer, will grow over the next 30 years. You have to make young people see that this is good business “
The focus of the debate has been the financing of the new CAP. As Commissioner Hogan pointed out, in May the Commission will present its budget proposal for the coming years starting in 2020, the so-called multiannual financial framework, and a few months later, in June, the proposal will be presented in relation to agriculture.
The new budget for the European Union will have to face the handicap involved in the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, which is likely to affect the budget corresponding to the CAP, which today accounts for around 40% of the total
“All the options are right now on the table,” acknowledged the Commissioner, although he insisted that a greater contribution to the financing of budgets by the States could be a good solution. “If countries contributed only 0.1% more of their GDP, it would be enough to solve the problem.”
MEP Clara Aguilera also supported that option: “It does not make any sense that we are against increasing the contributions to the budget and that it is open to co-financing”, and insisted: “Let’s increase it through the European way, which is the only way to avoid renationalization”.
In the same sense, Minister Isabel García Tejerina reaffirmed the government’s position: “Everyone knows that we are a tremendously pro-European government and we are aware that growth is also promoted in the European Union”, to conclude emphasizing that “to the extent in that this is so we will understand that this has to be reflected in the budgets”.
For the generational change
On the other hand, the debate on the role of youth in agriculture was also very present during the dialogue. To the samples of concern on the part of the public, the Commissioner responded with the following reflection: “If you were someone who has to open a new company and they told you that there is a middle class that grows annually around 150 million consumers, that they demand quality drinks and food, where the EU is the number one producer, it does not matter if you are young or old, anyone would say that it is a good business. This is what young people should take into account. ”
However, the Commissioner also acknowledged that we should give preferential treatment to young people in our policies: “It is not acceptable that in Europe only 6% of farmers are under 35 years old. We can do much more and I promise a regeneration for young people, “Hogan said.
Another issue addressed in the debate was that of innovation and research in the sector. “Research and innovation will remain a priority,” said the Commissioner, “but we have to make sure that both small and large farmers benefit from these practices.” In this sense, Phil Hogan was clear: “There is too much research in our institutes and universities that do not reach farmers. So we need a program to disseminate this knowledge that we are working on“.
Source: Office of the European Commission in Spain