The EU approves the new emissions directive. The breeders: penalized

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The European Parliament has given the final green light to the new directive on industrial emissions, which also sets more stringent levels for intensive farming, responsible for the production of nitrogen oxide, ammonia, mercury, methane and carbon dioxide. With 393 votes in favour, 173 against and 49 abstentions, the new directive also extends its rules to pig farms with more than 350 animals and to poultry farms with more than 280 chickens or more than 300 laying hens. The political agreement has for now excluded cattle breeding, which had instead been included in the European Commission’s proposal and whose inclusion will be evaluated at a later date, starting from 2026. The law must now also be adopted by the EU Council, before being published in the Official Journal and coming into force 20 days later. Member states will then have 22 months to comply.

However, the farmers are not satisfied. «With the vote on the industrial emissions directive – said Ettore Prandini, president of Coldiretti – the European Union has missed yet another opportunity to reverse course, abandoning the follies of a green extremism which risks closing thousands of farms, narrow between an increasingly suffocating bureaucracy and unfair competition from abroad”. According to the association, numerous medium and small sized pig and poultry farms will be affected by the new rules, with the result that only large or very large companies will survive. Furthermore, among the penalized farms there will also be pig farms involved in PDO production.

On the occasion of the vote, several European farmers’ associations went to Strasbourg to demonstrate, under the coordination of Copa Cogeca. For Italy, in addition to the Coldiretti delegation, there was that of Confagricoltura. It is also strongly opposed to the measure: «The measure – explains Cristina Tinelli, director of EU and international relations of Confagricoltura – was born with the aim of preventing and reducing emissions from the industrial and agricultural sectors, the result is a further burden bureaucratic for our companies which, however, have long been asking for a streamlining of the administrative commitments that slow down productivity”. Before the new approved rules, only two types of farming were subject to requesting the so-called Integrated Environmental Authorization: poultry farms with a maximum production potential of more than 40 thousand places and pig farms with a potential of more than 2 thousand places. When the newly approved directive comes into force, the thresholds will be halved.

According to CIA-Agricoltori, the new rules in Italy will affect 90% of poultry farms and 20% of pigs, although the impact on pork production will be more than 80%. «We have always considered it unreasonable to equate livestock farming with highly industrialized sectors – claims the president of the CIA, Cristiano Fini – asking for the maintenance of the status quo in the revision of the directive. After the exclusion of cattle farms, today we expected a very different outcome from the vote. Now we trust in a more careful evaluation by the Council, which will have to give the definitive green light to the text”. While the president of Confcooperative Fedagripesca, Carlo Piccinini, regrets that “only for a handful of votes it was not possible to proceed with voting on amendments that could have improved the text for the benefit of the entire agricultural system”.

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