S&Ds present their vision for a revolutionary agricultural model fit for the 21st century

farmers looking at cows in a field

Agriculture and food supply have been at the core of the European project since the Treaty of Rome, 60 years ago. Today new challenges – such as globalisation, new technologies and climate change – demand a courageous initiative to take European agriculture forward.
 
The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have adopted a position paper with their vision on the future of agriculture. The goal is to ensure a long-term perspective through the engagement of younger generations and link our policies more closely to high-quality food, human health, the protection of the environment and safeguarding jobs and vibrant communities in rural areas.
 
Agriculture and agri-food businesses represent 6% of the EU’s GDP, 11 million farms and 44 million jobs (of which 22 million are on farms). Over several decades in a number of European countries, rural areas have seen big reductions in the number of farmers, falling farm incomes and agricultural employment losing ground as capital is substituted for labour. In the period 2000-2012, 4.8 million full-time jobs in EU agriculture disappeared and these job losses were concentrated in the newest member states.
 
S&D spokesperson on agriculture Eric Andrieu MEP said:
 
“Food is the basis of life and not a mere commodity. The right to food comes above any commercial consideration. Only together can we meet the environmental, climatic and food challenges of the 21st century by revolutionising our agricultural model. Europe must regain its leadership role once again and become the driving force that the world needs so much today.
 
“Agriculture is the essential key to keeping our rural areas and communities alive. Living agriculture which is productive and plays its role in combating climate change will help safeguard communities from fires, droughts and land and water degradation.

“All the reforms to the CAP since the 1990s have given the market free reign, with devastating consequences for farmers, the environment and rural economies and have been dangerous for our food security. Another agricultural model is possible! A model that respects human health and the environment, but also one that guarantees a decent and stable income for our famers, who just want to be able to earn a living from their job.

“Agriculture needs a bold and innovative approach! We need a revolution in our European agricultural policy as of now – not more of the status quo until 2025 for the benefit of the few, as the European right wingers demand.

“Agriculture and food are social issues.  We need to put agriculture back at the heart of the European political project.”

The S&D document is based on five principles:

- Ensuring farmers can make a living from their work
- Developing a food and nutrition policy to safeguard human health
- Speeding up the transition to sustainable and economically viable agriculture to meet environmental and climate challenges
- Investing to ensure we have lively rural areas
- Meeting the future geopolitical challenges
 
Read the full S&D position paper on the future of agriculture.

Related documents 
S&D's position paper on agriculture, 14 November 2017
14/11/2017