The French president, Emmanuel Macron, visited the Paris Agriculture Fair on Saturday, considered the largest fair in the sector in Europe, and tried to calm the Gallic peasants against possible cuts in the CAP, the impact of Brexit or the firm of international trade agreements.
For several hours, the president toured the aisles of the fair, spoke with farmers, ranchers and producers and, face to face, gave them a message of calm in the face of their concerns.
Less than a month from the municipal, the president recognized the problems that cross a sector that in France employs almost 450,000 people directly, less than half of those there were 30 years ago.
The main concern of the farmers is the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the biggest obstacle that prevented a budget agreement on the eve of the Brussels summit.
Macron has emerged as one of the main advocates of limiting cuts in the CAP, which the Commission wants to take up to 14%, an unassuming position for France.
“The CAP cannot be the budget adjustment variable,” said the president, who intends to keep a good part of the 9,000 million euros his country receives from that policy in the budget for the period 2021-2027.
To a large extent, the reduction of money devoted to agriculture, which absorbs 40% of the total, is dictated by the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (EU), an issue that also raises concerns for French fishermen whose nets carry out the 20% of their catches in British waters.
Macron also heard the fears of the wine sector, affected by the tariffs imposed by the United States in retaliation for state subsidies to the aeronautical manufacturer Airbus.
The farmers who claimed aid to face the prohibition of the use of certain pesticides, such as glyphosate, decreed by the French Government from next year or those who believe that the French countryside may be affected by the signing of the crops, also complained. trade agreements with Canada or Mercosur.
The president, who was also approached by some representatives of the “yellow vests”, a very diminished movement but to whom he promised to receive in the coming weeks, wielded in his favor a letter: the revaluation of agricultural pensions.
In effect, the reform of the system that the deputies are discussing and that has caused enormous opposition among the workers’ unions, benefits the countryside, since it introduces a minimum pension of 1,000 euros, higher than the average that a peasant currently charges, 760 euros in the case of men and 580 among women.