Amid farmers’ protests, the dignity of agri-workers’ working conditions in the future CAP must remain a red-line.

EFFAT urges to strengthen Social Conditionality at EP hearing on the future of CAP

Ahead of the EU elections and the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, EFFAT organised a hearing this week supported by MEP Maria Noichl (S&D) and MEP Martin Häusling (The Greens). As farmers’ protests opposing the EU Green Deal are sweeping across Europe, EFFAT presented its vision for a fairer CAP and drew a red-line: Agri-workers’ working conditions are not negotiable and must be improved during the next CAP reform, through a further strengthening of Social Conditionality.

Despite the success of the Social Conditionality in 2021, the reality remains that agricultural work continues to be one of the most insecure, poorly compensated, and hardest occupations in Europe. The lived experiences of nearly 4 million of them are characterized by struggles, deprivation, and labour abuse.

With A Call to a Fairer CAP, EFFAT urges the next EU to step-up efforts to ensure that Social Conditionality is not just a nice policy on paper and that it’s effectively implemented to address the working conditions of agricultural workers in Europe.

EFFAT’s vision emphasizes:

  • Strengthening Social Conditionality through a robust system of increased sanctions and inspections to ensure its effective implementation.
  • Broadening the criteria for the allocation of direct payments, including the level and quality of employment to promote growth and good employment in rural areas.
  • Extending the scope of Social Conditionality ensuring it applies also as an ex-ante mechanism.
  • Introducing the provision of CAP-funded education and training programs for agri-workers.

Kristjan Bragason, EFFAT Secretary General, said: If farmers are struggling, farm workers’ conditions are unbearable. A fairer CAP must solve the imbalances of the food chain: the disproportionate concentration of powers with some actors reaping profits and vulnerable farm workers paying the price.

MEP Maria Noichl continued: A fairer CAP is part of the solution for a different agriculture model, fairer to small farmers and agri-workers. Social Conditionality is not part of the narrative around administrative burdens to farmers. It is about applying national law.

MEP Martin Häusling concluded: It’s paramount to build a CAP that is socially and environmentally responsible. The first step is the creation of a regional ecological agriculture. We must stop thinking that we can globalize the sector and start questioning the sustainability of our international trade.

At the meeting EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit intervened in a panel and said: The Agriculture is the Sector of the Future, but it needs urgent EU action: We need to support farmers and ensure them decent revenues so that agri-workers can live in dignity.

‘A Call for a Fairer CAP’ is part of #CallingEU, the broader EFFAT vision on a Fairer Europe for Workers which was presented this week: five demands for a new EU mandate committed to equal treatment, social and climate justice, and solidarity in Europe.

Link to the event recording (available for 7 days)

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