The powerful agricultural union FNSEA emerged on Tuesday "satisfied" from a meeting with the Prime Minister, assuring that it had obtained the abandonment of the increase in taxes intended to limit the use of pesticides and water withdrawals and to be used in particular to finance water agencies. This interview came after several weeks of demonstrations organized throughout France at the call of the Young Farmers' Union and the National Federation of Farmers' Unions (FNSEA), under the slogan "We walk on the head".
The discontent covers a range of issues, from measures on pesticides to EU free trade agreements currently being negotiated and Brussels' refusal to extend the derogation allowing fallow land to be cultivated until 2024. The president of the FNSEA, Arnaud Rousseau, was pleased to have won his case on a "major demand": the renunciation of the increase in the diffuse pollution charge (RPD), levied on the sale of pesticides, as well as that of the fee for abstraction from water resources for irrigation.
These provisions, provided for in the 2024 Finance Bill, were intended to raise an additional €37 million and €10 million respectively to supplement the financing of water agencies, which participate in the management of water quality and quantity in a territory. "For our part, we are committed to getting to work to build sustainable trajectories" for the increase in these taxes in the coming years, Arnaud Rousseau stressed Tuesday evening in front of the press, after the meeting with Élisabeth Borne, where the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, was also present.
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Announcements in December
We are coming out of this meeting satisfied, because we have been heard," he said. "We listened attentively to the Prime Minister, who asked us a lot of questions to understand the growing gap between public statements, the amounts committed and the feelings on the ground," added the official. Also present at the meeting, the president of the Young Farmers, Arnaud Gaillot, welcomed the progress made on the development of the "pact" and the "draft law on orientation and the future" for agriculture.
A consultation was launched in 2022 on these texts aimed at rebuilding French agriculture, to ensure both the transfer of farms, the installation of young farmers and the environmental transition of a sector that must continue to produce the country's food while reducing its CO2 emissions. The timetable has been pushed back several times. Many points are still under discussion, particularly on the accompanying measures, said Arnaud Gaillot. According to the discussions in Matignon on Tuesday, the Prime Minister's announcements on the Pact should be made "in December", he said. On the Agricultural Orientation Law, it has not yet been decided whether it will be before or after the Agricultural Show, scheduled from February 24 to March 3. But "by the end of the year, we want the law to be clearly marked in the parliamentary calendar with a precise date," he added.