David McAllister MEP: No additional costs and bureaucracy in war times
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David McAllister MEP: No additional costs and bureaucracy in war times

As we are in the middle of the worst food crisis of our century, one example is the law project to cut pesticide use in agriculture. We all want fewer pesticides in our agricultural production. I am in favour of reducing pesticides, but the current law proposal is not fit for purpose. The EPP Group wants to postpone the law project in its current form to avoid exploding food prices during the war.

For the EPP Group, preserving and protecting nature for future generations is a priority. We want agriculture, forestry and nature protection to work hand in hand. We want to better protect our ecosystems, plants, animals, forests, oceans and biodiversity. But we want this to be done wisely. It doesn’t make sense to tear down villages built 100 years ago to create wetlands. It doesn’t make sense to plant trees that don’t fit the vegetation and climate anymore. We want future-proof nature restoration and development.

When there is a war in Europe, we cannot do business as usual. When energy prices explode, we must not do anything that fires up inflation. When food production is under pressure, we must not do anything that makes food more expensive. When many companies are struggling with the current crisis, we must not create new bureaucracy for them. For as long as Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine puts economic pressure on us, we must postpone any new laws that make normal food and normal housing more expensive for normal people.

There is a whole bunch of law projects, which had been designed before the war, which need to be re-evaluated and reassessed now. Some parts of Europe’s green transition, the so-called Green Deal, must certainly be accelerated (like getting away from Russian fossil fuels), but other parts must be re-evaluated. The green transition will not work if it just leads to increasing prices, less food production in Europe, and businesses shutting down. All parts of society have to be able to embrace the green transition. Only together, in a joint effort from families to shop owners and from farmers to heavy industry, will we be able to achieve our targets. That is why we want a pause, a regulatory slow-down.

Another example is the law project on nature restoration. Among the proposals is an obligation for European farmers to abandon 10 percent of the farmland and do all of their food production, animal breeding and farming on only 90 percent of agricultural areas they own. This would increase food prices and disown farmers who are already struggling with very high grain and fertilizers costs. This may put more farmers out of business, will lead to more imports of food that is produced below our standards for safe and sustainable food and could even lead to a global famine.

The European Commission must provide comprehensive impact assessments for these law projects. The weakness of the laws is already shown by the fact that the Commission proposed them without proper impact assessments. Unfortunately, the Commission is gambling with the future of agriculture and forestry in Europe without even bothering to look at the consequences.

Since the Russian war against Ukraine has threatened global food security and caused malnutrition, I believe that we shouldn’t act as if nothing has happened. It is our duty in this situation to safeguard food production and the global food markets. We need to grow more food – not less – and must guarantee food security. Putting the entire burden on the shoulders of farmers now, by prohibiting the sensible use of pesticides, would not help anyone.

The EPP Group is in favour of protecting nature. We want to better protect our forests, oceans and the animals in them, but we want to protect people too. Our approach should be forward-looking. We do not need restoration in the sense of going back to the past, but we need a development of biodiversity. Europe’s nature in the 1950s might have looked beautiful, but it was not as healthy as many seem to think.