European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan solemnly warned French farmers on Thursday, March 2 in Paris against any temptation to vote Le Pen in the presidential election, arguing that the FN candidate’s proposal to “francize” aid to agriculture was not credible. This idea launched by the candidate Front National is “bad” declared the Commissioner, an Irishman, during his visit to the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris.
Marine Le Pen “adopts the British position of scaring farmers and making them believe that everything will be fine if we get rid of Europe”, but British farmers will be “the big losers” of Brexit and will not touch any more money. direct aid from their government after 2020, said the Commissioner.
“British farmers now realize that they are going to lose around £ 15,000 each per year in terms of direct aid” said Mr Hogan, “it is a tragedy”. In Britain, “there is no proposal from the minister to replace” direct European aid, and at the end of the day “there is no longer going to be any direct aid or a safety net. is that what Madame Le Pen wants “for French farmers? he asked himself.
€ 9.5 billion in direct aid from Europe
The Commissioner recalled that French agriculture received 9.5 billion euros in direct aid from Europe. “Some candidates tend to forget it,” he added. This sum represents almost half of what France pays to the European Union in annual contribution (21 billion euros). However, farmers do not even represent 2% of the French population.
“In France, nothing guarantees that farmers, who weigh less than 2% of the country’s population, can continue to benefit from 9 billion euros of aid from the national budget if the country were to renationalize its aid” underlines- are we in the entourage of the Commissioner.
Mr. Hogan also said he wanted to “simplify” the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), to help as many farmers as possible in difficulty. Marine Le Pen, visiting the show on Tuesday, insisted that it was “time to put an end to the European Union” and the Common Agricultural Policy, and proposed to “francize aid” to farmers.
Mr. Hogan also recalled that the sector allowed France to generate 15 billion euros in trade surplus, and that the agri-food industry weighed “several tens of thousands of jobs” in the country.
He considered “very worrying” the figures of the Mutualité sociale agricole (MSA) according to which 50% of French farmers had a monthly income of less than 350 euros in 2016 due to the various crises that affected the sector last year. “Was it with European subsidies?” he asked AFP in response to a question on the subject.
European Union Agricultural Show