At the meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers in Koblenz, Agriculture Minister Klockner spoke out against an EU trade agreement with the South American Mercosur states. It warns of environmentally harmful competition for Europe’s farmers.
Agriculture Minister Julia Klockner has opposed the EU trade agreement with the Mercosur countries in South America. At a meeting with her EU colleagues in Koblenz, the CDU politician said she did not see that the pact would be ratified. In South America, rainforests would be cleared for arable land, and European farmers would then have to compete with environmentally harmful food. A stronger regional supply is the lesson from the Corona crisis, said Klockner.
The EU and the Mercosur states of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay met last June after 20 years of negotiations Agreed on a comprehensive association agreement to create the largest free trade area in the world. Before it can come into force, it must be ratified by all EU member states. According to Klockner, the agriculture ministers of almost all EU countries are against the ratification of the agreement in its current form.
Klockner is calling for the animal welfare label again
At the informal meeting of the EU agriculture ministers in Koblenz, Klockner again promoted the introduction of animal welfare labeling in a European legal framework. That is a thick board at EU level, but all agriculture ministers have agreed to put the issue on the agenda. The labeling is intended to make it easier for consumers in the supermarket to choose foods that have been produced with animal welfare in mind. Klockner also advocated the so-called Nutriscore marking again. This is an indicator in traffic light colors as to whether foods contain a lot of sugar or fat.
Farmers demonstrate against reform of EU agricultural aid
The Koblenz meeting was accompanied by protests against the planned reform of EU agricultural aid. Many farmers drove their tractors to the Rhine-Moselle town early in the morning, honked their horns and extended the traffic jams of the rush hour, the police said. The exact number of demonstrators is difficult to estimate because they were spread across the entire city center.
Among other things, farmers are fighting against new requirements for the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Klockner, who is herself the daughter of a Rhineland-Palatinate winemaker, thanked the farmers for their "system-relevant" work. They would often be unjustifiably attacked as abusers of animals and polluters. In doing so, they would have nature in mind. It is important to bring together economy, ecology and "the social question" and to feed 450 million EU citizens: "A hungry stomach does not find peace."
Environmentalists are also protesting
At the same time, the environmental protection organization Greenpeace demonstrated in Koblenz for more environmentally friendly agriculture. "Instead of huge monocultures, the EU must specifically support farmers who protect the soil and water and keep their animals in a species-appropriate manner," demanded the environmentalists. "This is the only way to achieve the European climate targets."
Klockner announced that she wanted to find a common line between the EU states in October. Germany will chair the EU states until the end of the year and therefore have a mediating role. The EU Commission has proposed proposals since 2018. The aim of the reform of agricultural aid is to promote climate and environmental protection and to realign payments to farmers.