Agriculture and CAP, Procaccini: “Italy Strong in Europe”

Trade and Economics - May 5, 2024

The election campaign ahead of the European elections in June is progressing. Candidates and political movements must deal with an international crisis dictated by the ongoing conflicts (of Russia and Ukraine, and in the Middle East) and their consequences. In addition, issues related to the protest of agricultural workers are still open. In this regard, on 11 April the European Parliament gave the green light, with 432 votes in favour, 155 against and 13 abstentions, to the activation of the urgency procedure to approve the simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) proposed by the EU Commission in mid-March.

Several measures are under consideration – which will then be voted on in concrete terms in the plenary session in Strasbourg (22-25 April) – such as revising certain provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy in order to simplify procedures, reduce burdens on farms – especially the smallest ones – and make the obligations to be met under enhanced cross-compliance more flexible.

As President von der Leyen explained at the debate on 15 March, the Commission’s action is a strong one that aims to “support our farmers at a time when they face many challenges and concerns. We are sending a clear message: agricultural policy is adapting to changing realities, while remaining focused on the key priority of environmental protection and adaptation to climate change”. In addition to the shared reassurances for workers in the sector, von der Leyen also made it clear that any intervention will preserve agricultural work but will also have to respect the climate and the environment.


The Italian take on the issue and the CAP review

From the very beginning of the protest carried out by the agricultural workers, the Italian government has been open to dialogue and cooperation, highlighting the efforts it has made to support the sector and enable its decisive growth. In this sense, the Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, Francesco Lollobrigida, expressed great satisfaction, stating: “With the green light in Brussels from the Special Committee on Agriculture, today we are taking a further step towards the revision and simplification of the CAP. Today’s vote is a fundamental result that came also from the strategy document presented by Italy at AGRIFISH last February and from the Government’s action, which successfully brought the topic of agriculture to the table at the last European Council”.

He also emphasised the importance of reducing administrative and bureaucratic burdens, of greater flexibility in respecting environmental constraints, and of protecting the right of every citizen to healthy food.

During his recent meeting with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, President Meloni also reiterated the importance of “a rapid implementation of the review of the Common Agricultural Policy and the measures to alleviate the financial pressure on farmers agreed upon at the European Council in March”.


The comment of Nicola Procaccini, ECR co-president

ECR co-president Nicola Procaccini returned to the topic during his election tour, highlighting, in this specific case, the work done on a national and international scale by the Italian government.

The approval by the Special Committee on Agriculture of the review of the Common Agricultural Policy, proposed by the European Commission, is a success of the Italian government’s action in Europe,” he shared. “The change would not have been possible without the decisive intervention of our government, which has always maintained this position alongside farmers and operators in the sector. The revision, which reduces administrative burdens and provides greater flexibility for compliance with environmental constraints – by exempting small farms of less than 10 hectares from controls and penalties linked to the CAP – incorporates some of the proposals contained in the Italian position presented by Minister Lollobrigida at the AGRIFISH Council in February“.

Not least because, again with reference to what Procaccini himself has said in recent weeks, “The CAP in force, negotiated before the Covid emergency and the conflicts in Ukraine and in the Middle East, with the related inflationary spiral, must be adjusted to support the agricultural sector and loosen the green constraints imposed by the ideological vision of the Timmermans-led left”. Therefore, both the Italian as well as the European priority is the adequacy of the measures taken for the workers in the sector.