03 May 2024 | Valladolid

Conservative regional leaders on defending European food sovereignty at ECR Study Days in Valladolid

03 May 2024 | Valladolid

Conservative regional leaders on defending European food sovereignty at ECR Study Days in Valladolid

With European elections only a month away, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) today held its Study Days event to discuss how conservative-led regions and cities can help change the future of Europe. At a conference in Valladolid (Spain), politicians, academics and experts had the opportunity to exchange views on how to defend European agriculture in view of increasing environmental demands. The other main focus of the event was the just and impartial application of the Rule of Law, a concept which has been recently politicised by EU elites who have selectively applied it against those daring to question the status quo.

As part of the opening remarks, President of the ECR Group and President of the Abruzzo region in Italy, Marco Marsilio, acknowledged that protecting the environment is a priority but emphasized at the same time that "we need an environment with farmers in it. Nobody knows better than farmers how to preserve the environment, but they need less of the ecological craziness written by those who have never spent a day on the farm. Protecting European food sovereignty means protecting European identity".

ECR bureau member and host of the event Juan García Gallardo Frings, who is also Vice-President of the Government of the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León in Spain, highlighted the main motivation behind today's event: "Democratic tyranny is the most detrimental system of government for the people because it has the flaws and errors of both systems".

In the first panel, politicians and experts discussed the concept of the rule of law, which has recently undergone a significant transformation risking its credibility as a shared European value.

Keynote speaker Jorge Buxadé MEP, Leader of VOX Delegation in the European Parliament and Vice-President of the ECR Party talked about how ideology could compromise the very existence of the EU stating: "The Union shall serve the nations that form it and not the other way around. European institutions shall act impartially and only to generate added value with due respect for the electoral outcomes in the Member States. These attempts to use punitive mechanisms or restrictions on access to funds for the implementation of an ideological agenda is dangerous, undemocratic, and jeopardizes the very existence of the EU".

First Vice-President of the ECR Group and Marshal of the Podkarpackie region in Poland, Władysław Ortyl, referred to the political decision of the European Commission to put very detailed conditions, including the amendment of a number of laws, on the release of funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility when negotiating with the PiS government, but "once the new coalition government was sworn in, a mere declaration of unconditional loyalty to Brussels was enough to unblock transfers of the outstanding money".

The second panel was devoted to the future of European agriculture and ensuring food security for future generations. Panellists criticised the Green Deal and its impact on the agricultural sector reiterating that farmers are already actively reducing greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to ensure high quality and productivity. Speakers called for a comprehensive impact assessment that the implementation of the Green Deal will have on agriculture and on food security that addresses the concerns of the farming community. 

Keynote speaker Janusz Wojciechowski Commissioner for Agriculture highlighted that recent challenges "have reinforced the most important elements of our food system: security in the supply of food for citizens; stability in the livelihoods of our farmers and rural communities; sustainability for our climate, biodiversity and natural resources; and solidarity, with our farmers.”

Speakers included Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, Italy via video message, Ettore Prandini, President of Coldiretti, Italy, Francesco Giubilei, Italian publisher and columnist, and Jorge Martín Frías, Director of Fundación Disenso.