Agriculture promises to be a key issue in the next European elections. The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) has closed ranks on the issue.
This week he organized a conference in the European Parliament on the subject. This came just days after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, from the EPP, used her annual State of the Union address to send a direct message of thanks to the European agricultural community.
“Today I would like to pay tribute to our farmers and thank them for ensuring our food supply day after day,” he said.
But MEPs are under no illusions about this recent change of tone.
Benoît Biteau, a French Green MEP, says the only reason he now chooses to focus on the farming community is his desire to remain head of the Commission for a second term.
“He is completely in an electoral process where he is once again trying to rally his political family around him with the aim of being able, I imagine, to serve a second term as president of the Commission,” Biteau told RockedBuzz via Euronews.
“And we saw that the EPP, at its congress almost two months ago, put the question of agriculture at the center of its agenda. Indeed, we saw a strong offensive on the agricultural question when the EPP congress returned.”
According to some analysts, the agricultural world welcomes the words of the President of the Commission. After serious crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the sector is in turmoil.
Luc Vernet, secretary general of Farm Europe, said in an interview that many people are taking note of the issue.
“The feeling towards food, agriculture and rural life goes far beyond the agricultural vote,” Vernet told RockedBuzz via Euronews.
“And we can see that in several countries the messages conveyed by the agricultural community have a resonance far beyond and throughout society as a whole.
“So we can clearly see that today there is a debate about agriculture which is obviously very strong in rural areas, but which also has resonance in urban areas. We have seen it in the Netherlands, but we are also seeing it in Germany, Italy and France.”
To please these voters, the EPP has been throwing blows at the EU Green Deal for several months.
Many in the agricultural sector believe that this and the environmental policies contained in it damage their livelihoods, or at least hit them too hard and too fast.
Faced with this kind of volatility, the EPP is now trying to consolidate its base before next year’s elections.