Von der Leyen opens up to farmers: subsidies and stop to the pesticide law. The League claims the victory

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The protest of the tractors that It has been crossing Europe for weeks begins to bear its first political fruits. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in her speech to the Strasbourg Parliament, announced the withdrawal of the legislative proposal on reducing the use of pesticides and also opened up new public subsidies for those who work in the countryside: «It is necessary a real incentive that goes beyond the simple loss of performance – he said – public subsidies can provide such incentives”.

That of the EU Commission is a concrete opening towards farmers, because it accepts some of the requests brought to the streets in recent days by the demonstrators: income support and a partial revision of the Green deal, the EU policy for environmental sustainability. “Our farmers deserve to be listened to – said the President of the Commission in front of the MEPs gathered in plenary – I know that they are worried about the future of agriculture and their future”. But he also reminded them that the path towards more sustainable production remains a path from which there is no turning back: «Farmers – he added – also know that agriculture must move to a more sustainable production model, in a that their companies remain profitable for years to come.”

In Italy, the League claims victory and is the first to jump on the farmers’ bandwagon: «Long live the farmers, whose tractors are forcing Europe to take back the follies imposed by multinationals and the left», said Matteo Salvini, after in Europe the legislative proposal on pesticides has been withdrawn. «The U-turn announced by Ursula von der Leyen on the proposal to reduce pesticides in agriculture by half is a victory for the League and for common sense – the Northern League MEPs Marco Zanni and Marco Campomenosi wrote in a note – in the November vote in the European Parliament the League voted against the measure, with a decisive contribution to the rejection of the proposal”. While the vice-president of the Senate Gian Marco Centinaio, head of the Agriculture department of the League, sends a warning to Rai, which yesterday evening had attempted to stop the participation of farmers in Sanremo: «It is right to listen to the protests of the agricultural world against the wicked directives of this European Union. Amadeus would do well to host the farmers’ fair demands on the Festival stage.”

During the morning, the Minister of Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, also spoke about the announcement by President Von der Leyen of the Commission to cancel the proposal on pesticides for the moment: «The EU Commission – he said – implements Italy’s proposals ».

The regulation on the reduction of pesticides, which should have led to a halving of their use by 2030, has always been among the most contested measures, even by the main European farmers’ associations. In fact, in the absence of alternatives to traditional chemistry in the fields, farmers are asking for longer times for the transition, under penalty of a significant loss of productivity in the countryside. “The withdrawal of the proposed regulation on the sustainable use of pesticides saves 30% of the production at the basis of the Mediterranean diet, from wine to tomato”, writes Coldiretti in a note. Last Thursday the association, together with farmers from other European countries, took to the streets in Brussels to pressure the European institutions to loosen the constraints of the Green Deal on the countryside. The president of Confagricoltura, Massimiliano Giansanti, also applauds Brussels’ decision: «When pragmatism prevails over ideology it is always good news. A request made some time ago by our organization has been accepted. In Italy the cut in the use of pesticides could have even exceeded 60%.” While the president of Copagri, Tommaso Battista, puts his hands forward for the future: for any initiative, he recalls, «it will be necessary to proceed with a preventive and in-depth impact assessment of the economic and socio-environmental repercussions of the cuts, taking into due consideration the alternatives available to farmers to defend their production”.

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