Egalim, seasonal, pesticides… What to remember from Gabriel Attal’s press conference

A few days before the opening of the Agricultural Show, the Prime Minister returned to the measures recently announced by the government in the face of the profession’s revolt.



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Prime Minister Gabriel Attal during a press conference on the agricultural crisis, February 21, 2024, in Matignon (Paris).  (ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

An expected speech, three days before the opening of the Agricultural Show. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal gave a press conference on Wednesday, February 21, in order to calm the farmers’ revolt, three weeks after a strong mobilization across the country. “The farmers raised a cry of anger, a cry that comes from afar”he declared in the introduction.

From 9 a.m., the head of government spoke to the press to detail the “main directions” of the agricultural bill, in which he intends to include “the objective of sovereignty” eating. The other objective of this press conference was to expose “monitoring and execution” of the government measures announced at the beginning of the month.For three weeks, aid has been paid, simplifications have been made”he assured. Franceinfo looks back at what we should remember from this speech.

Food sovereignty will be enshrined in law

Gabriel Attal first returned to the 62 commitments already made to farmers. “100% of construction sites have been opened”assured the head of government.

“Never have so many advances been implemented for farmers in such a short time.”

Gabriel Attal, Prime Minister

during his press conference

Gabriel Attal continued by promising that the future agricultural orientation bill “recognize[rait] in the law our objective of agricultural sovereignty”, as he had promised. This objective will be registered “black on white” in this future bill. The Prime Minister thus intends to place agriculture “among the fundamental interests of the nation”, in the same way as security or defense.

The Egalim laws will be strengthened “by the summer”

The Egalim laws, which aim to guarantee a minimum income to farmers, “rebalance things but they need to be further strengthened”underlined Gabriel Attal. Fraudsters must be punished, checks are increasing and sanctions will be there”, he assured. A parliamentary mission has been launched and a new bill to strengthen this system will be presented “by summer”said the Prime Minister. Gabriel Attal promises in parallel “a new law to strengthen the weight of farmers in trade negotiations”, as well as the establishment of an equivalent of Egalim at European level.

Almost all “basic” CAP aid has already been paid

During this press conference, the Prime Minister noted that “99.61% of basic CAP aid”the common agricultural policy, have already been paid to farmers, with the objective of 100% by March 15. “In 2015, at this same time, 0% of payments had taken place and the payment was made one year late”pointed out the head of government.

The government wants to ban the import of products using thiacloprid

At the beginning of February, Gabriel Attal announced that he was going to take “without delay a safeguard clause” to ban imports of agricultural products using thiacloprid, a pesticide banned in Europe, but which can be found in imports of certain products. “I asked the European Commission to ban the import” of these products, he stressed during this press conference.

France will “facilitate” the arrival of foreign seasonal workers

The Prime Minister added that agricultural production would be declared as “voltage sector” during the Agricultural Show, in order to “greatly facilitate the granting of visas” to bring foreign seasonal workers to French farms. Gabriel Attal also announced that the exemption from employer contributions on “almost all seasonal agricultural jobs” – the TO-DE system – would be perpetuated and strengthened from this year.

A “solutions conference” will be organized for collective catering

Gabriel Attal also announced the organization, between now and April, of a “solutions conference” bringing together the State and communities on collective catering. The objective is to integrate more sustainable and quality products, as well as organic products, into this sector. “I accept that I want us to consume more French”defended the Prime Minister.

A European indicator will now be used to measure the use of pesticides

At the beginning of February, Marc Fesneau, the Minister of Agriculture, announced that LThe government was going to suspend the Ecophyto plan which should make it possible to reduce the use of pesticides. The central indicator of the plan, Nodu, which measures the use of molecules by farmers, was defended by environmental NGOs but contested by agricultural organizations. “The reference indicator for monitoring the reduction of pesticides will be the European indicator, plus the French Nodu”declared Gabriel Attal. The Ecophyto plan aims to halve the use of pesticides by 2030 (compared to 2015-2017) and accelerate the search for alternatives. “Pace of prohibitions without solution, without giving up our ambition to reduce the use of our pesticides by 50% by 2030.”promised the head of government.

More than 300 cases of fraud on the Origine France label have been noted

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, for his part returned to the controls of establishments regarding products claiming French origin. At this stage, 1,000 establishments have been checked, he announced. “372 establishments do not respect the Origine France label”continued the tenant of Bercy, recalling that these frauds are “liable to a criminal sanction, which can reach 10% of the turnover of the companies concerned.

Two European purchasing centers could face fines

Bruno Le Maire also announced that two European mass distribution purchasing centers, which did not comply with French law, were targeted by “pre-fines” of several tens of millions of euros. They have two months to contest these sanctions, said the Minister of the Economy. Distributors have set up purchasing and service centers in Europe in recent years, to negotiate with their largest industrial suppliers, often multinationals. Some are accused of not respecting French legislation.

Sector players will soon meet on simplification

During this press conference, the Minister of Agriculture finally assured that he would “bring together all the stakeholders to say what we are going to do about simplification”. Marc Fesneau specified that a meeting of European agriculture ministers was planned for Monday to discuss new rules.

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