a meeting with Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée to “realize” the government’s announcements

Emmanuel Macron receives representatives of the agricultural world Thursday morning at the Elysée to discuss the “prospects” of the sector and “announce the end” of this winter’s crisis.


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The president addresses members of the Rural Coordination on the opening day of the 60th International Agricultural Show, in Paris, February 24, 2024. (LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / VIA AFP)

A little over two months after the end of the blockages and a very rowdy agricultural show, the executive is trying to turn the page on the agricultural crisis. Emmanuel Macron receives stakeholders in the sector at the Elysée on Thursday, May 2 – unions, sector managers or inter-professional organizations – to “discuss the perspectives of French and European agriculture”, according to the Presidency of the Republic. The objective is to “project the sector to face the challenges of the decades to come”in the words of those around Emmanuel Macron.

The meeting takes place a few days after Gabriel Attal’s announcement of 14 new measures to help farmers. The majority unions seem ready to start a new chapter with the government but without starting things from scratch.

“We are moving into another phase of realization”

After Gabriel Attal’s announcements on Saturday, the new aid released by the public investment bank for farms, the acceleration of 100 water storage or irrigation projects, the FNSEA like the Young Farmers estimated that “the phase of work following the mobilizations ends” which means that we are moving to another phase this morning at the Elysée. “We are moving into another phase of realizationexplains Luc Smessaert, vice-president of the FNSEA. How do we restore income so that we are no longer the adjustment variable between mass distribution and the agri-food industry? How do we get people to stop banning us from using phytosanitary products? In any case, this meeting for Young Farmers and the FNSEA is very important.”

There are still many projects to follow. There is in particular the agricultural orientation bill, discussed since Tuesday in committee at the Assembly, to facilitate in particular the transfer of farms, the Ecophyto plan in the coming days, the new version of Egalim expected by he summer and the future of floor prices to protect farmers’ income, announced by Emmanuel Macron himself at the Agricultural Show.

But “no one knows what the president thinks about agriculture”, recognizes a ministerial advisor. Agricultural policy has zig-zagged in recent years, between massive aid at the end of the previous five-year term, then ecological planning, and finally the desire to relax the rules after this winter’s crisis.

“Our farmers don’t feel like they’ve been heard”

Agricultural organizations still have requests to make to the Head of State, especially in terms of cash flow. For example, the Rural Coordination welcomes progress but the account is still not there, for its president Véronique Le Floc’h: “Our farmers do not have the impression of having been heard. Our treasuries are dry. The bankers are not that involved in the effort to be made.”

“I don’t see how, in such an open meeting, we can feel heard. In any case we won’t leave with clear, definitive and firm answers.”

Véronique Le Floc’h, president of Rural Coordination

at franceinfo

Critics also come from the Peasant Confederation, which has so far pointed to a lack of will to ensure an income for farmers and to support them in their ecological transition. But there is no reason to return to the roads with the tractors for the moment, even if the anger remains very present, according to the unions. They all recognize progress since the start of the crisis, but rule out easing the pressure for the moment.

For its part, the government estimates that 91% of the commitments made to respond to the anger of farmers have been completed or advanced.

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