Portuguese Farmers Confederation and the Spanish organization ASAJA – Asociación Agraria – Jóvenes Agricultores, are joining efforts to ensure that the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is concluded by the end of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union (EU). On June 11, during the Iberian Conference held in Portugal with the presence of both agriculture ministries, CAP and ASAJA had already alerted to the importance of CAP negotiations being concluded by the end of June. To this end, it expressed its full willingness to contribute to the success of these negotiations, and made available to the Portuguese and Spanish government its full knowledge and technical capacity, so that it is possible to close this file and avoid a situation of foreseeable delay of another year in the implemention of the new CAP.
The conviction of both entities is that a good agreement cannot be at any price and that there must be consensus between the EU codecision makers, so that the CAP remains consistent and effective in its objectives.
For the agricultural sector it is not acceptable to have a CAP reform with a four- year time horizon, when what farmers need are stable long-term measures so that they can make their choices and manage their farms based on results, not on expectations. Stability and confidence on the part of European consumers is needed. To this end, CAP and ASAJA propose Common Agricultural Policy programming periods of 10 years, so that a real impact analysis of the results can be made.
CAP and ASAJA do not agree with absenteeism in the agricultural sector, and will never agree with rewarding those who do not work and those who do nothing. It is necessary to evaluate, assess and know costs, plan, and give a chance to those who work more to have more income. So if the European Parliament’s goal is mandatory capping, all labor costs need to be accounted for 100%, as well as contracted services and tax wealth, which contributes to the gross domestic product (everything that farmers contribute), needs to be accounted for so that there is justice. The Iberian Peninsula has its own environmental conditions and constraints in relation to Climate Change, completely different from most European countries, so the new environmental regimes must be adjusted to the reality of each country. Between Portugal and Spain the regulation of the CAP cannot be very different, under penalty of causing great distortions in the market.
For Iberian farmers to be able to invest in their farms and produce quality food at reasonable prices, it is essential that the bureaucracy inherent in their work in agriculture does not overlap with the work that is done in the field. It is essential that bureaucracy be replaced by quick and effective tools that allow farmers to do what they do best: produce food. For this reason, CAP and ASAJA do not understand the European Parliament ́s imposition of social conditionality since, in addition to achieving the opposite objective of simplification, it is a competence that belongs to the Member States.
It is essential that decision making at the European level be based on science and technology. As Mediterranean countries, Portugal and Spain need to have effective tools to combat pests and diseases that are directly related to Climate Change, so as not to jeopardize food security.