Press Release | Open Letter: The new CAP needs Social Conditionality

A movement of 300+ organisations and personalities urges EU CAP funds to be conditional on the respect for labour rights in agriculture.

Brussels – 17 February 2021: As the interinstitutional negotiations on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are undergoing, EFFAT, the European Federation of Food Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions, has promoted the launch of an open letter co-signed by 300+ trade unions, NGOs, CSOs, high-level personalities, and members of the academia.

The letter, addressed to key Commissioners, EU Parliament negotiating MEPs, and national agriculture ministers, calls for social conditionality to be part of the next CAP reform: direct payments to employers should be conditional on respect for the applicable working and employment conditions under relevant collective agreements, national and EU law as well as ILO conventions.

A broad coalition has joined this major call for social justice in the agriculture sector, one of the most challenging and precarious of the EU economy*, with high levels of wage theft, undeclared work, labour abuses, and exploitation. The signatories joined forces to oppose a CAP that neglects this reality. An easily applicable solution is in sight: Social conditionality would contribute to improving living and working conditions for millions of workers in agriculture.

‘Where the lived experience of a vast proportion of agri-workers is one of struggle and poor wages, it is unacceptable to see that respect for human and labour rights play absolutely no role in the allocation of the EU CAP direct payments, especially when CAP receives 1/3 of the total EU budget’ – commented Kristjan Bragason, EFFAT General Secretary, – and added: ‘It is great to see so many different actors coming together around one crucial principle: workers’ rights are not red tape; without respect for labour standards, CAP will never be truly sustainable.’

The European Parliament backed EFFAT’s demands and adopted a clear first reading position calling for the inclusion of social conditionality in the future CAP. EFFAT along with its supporters are now urging co-legislators and Member States to accept and further strengthen the Parliament’s position, making sure social conditionality is part of the final deal.

The open letter will be open to further co-signatures on the EFFAT website after publication.

*61.2% of EU agri-workers are engaged in informal employment – Source: ILO calculations based on EU Statistics on Income and living: link


Media Contact: Maddalena Colombi | | +32 488337409


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