Strasbourg, from the correspondent – First, the CAP derogations on arable land, then the promise to ease the administrative burden of the Common Agricultural Policy. It is from the podium of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where this morning (Feb. 6) the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said she wants to accomplish more steps to meet the demands of farmers angry with Europe for policies that are too green. Ahead of the June elections, the German leader also chooses to ride the wave of farmers’ discontent, backtracking on some of the sticking points in her strategy for a green Europe.
The proposed SUR (Sustainable use of pesticides) regulation on cutting pesticide use has “become a symbol of polarization. It has been rejected by the European Parliament. There is no progress anymore in the Council either…That is why I will propose to the College to withdraw this proposal,” the German leader announced in front of MEPs, stressing that the “issue remains” but moving “forward requires more dialogue and a different approach.”
On this basis, the Commission “could” make a new proposal “with much more matured content and with the stakeholders together.” the leader added. According to reports in Strasbourg, the ‘withdrawal’ of the proposal will not be an immediate process. A proposal will have to be submitted to the College, which is not on the agenda of today’s meeting. There is no timeline, however, for a new proposal, which could come once the strategic dialogue with farmers is completed.
Von der Leyen’s announcement comes from Strasbourg, where MEPs, in November, rejected her proposal in the first reading, starting a process that effectively stalled the dossier. To the surprise of many (despite being targeted by the European People’s Party), the House rejected the report by Green MEP Sarah Wiener, which would have represented the European Parliament’s mandate in negotiations with member states. This sealed the Parliament’s first reading of the dossier without a majority to amend the Commission’s text. The dossier, therefore, went to member states without ever being put on the agenda by the Spanish and now Belgian presidency in the absence of a qualified majority to approve it.
The proposal would have slipped directly to the next legislature, but the Commission, as the owner of the initiative, can withdraw it at any time. And it did. The European Commission’s proposed regulation was submitted in June 2022 as part of the Farm to Fork Strategy to halve the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 2030 (based on the 2015-2017 average) in the EU as a binding obligation and a ban the use of pesticides in all urban “sensitive” areas, from parks to schools.
A message that von der Leyen sent directly to farmers who, shortly after 10 a.m., gathered outside the Strasbourg Hemicycle. Just over fifty tractors parked along the avenue bordering the building that houses the European Parliament in the Alsatian capital, and about a hundred or so demonstrators are expected throughout the morning to protest against EU policies, considered too stringent in environmental terms, and against rising agricultural fuel prices. French police, deployed since early this morning, have fenced off and blocked the passage several dozen meters from the main entrance to the European Parliament.English version by the Translation Service of Withub