The CEJA Presidium 2016 tackled pressing issues such as potential immediate measures to address the serious market crises the EU agricultural sector is currently enduring. CEJA President Alan Jagoe called for specific measures to address the oversupply of milk on the market at a European Parliament public hearing on the subject just hours after the end of internal CEJA discussions. Fifty leading young farmer delegates from across Europe also debated the British referendum on the EU and its potential effects on European agriculture during a dinner debate on Tuesday evening alongside MEPs Julie Girling and Anthea McIntyre.
Young farmers are particularly vulnerable to the current agricultural market crisis considering that many of them having recently made substantial on-farm investments with little financial backing, and CEJA members therefore believe it is crucial that support measures are activated now in order to ensure the future of the sector. With that in mind, CEJA is calling for the implementation of Article 222 immediately, financed by new EU money which does not come from current CAP funds or the crisis reserve, accompanied by cooperation between all economic actors in the dairy supply chain in order to implement this measure on a fair, EU-wide basis. As CEJA President Alan Jagoe stated at the public hearing on the dairy crisis in the European Parliament on Wednesday evening, it is already too late for some, but if action is not taken now, then it will be too late for many more young farmers, and with it, the future of the EU dairy sector.
Considering the current uncertainty European farmers find themselves in, the subject of the 23 June referendum on potential British exit from the Union and its possible effects on the EU agricultural sector was debated over the Presidium dinner in an event entitled: “To Brexit or To Bremain: What does the future hold for EU agriculture?”. The debate saw two British MEPs, Ms Girling and Ms McIntyre, outline their reasons for wanting the UK to stay in the EU, in particular for the sake of the livelihoods of the British farmers they represent, while two British CEJA delegates explained how and why they will be voting in a month’s time. However, young farmers from across the rest of the EU were just as engaged in the debate, expressing their wish to see the UK remain part of the Union for the sake of farmers across Europe. The strong feeling was that the UK should remain for its own economic wellbeing and that of the member states the UK relies on for trade. There were some dissenting voices and a healthy challenge to accepted principles but on balance the remain argument prevailed”.
The CEJA Presidium 2016 took place on 24 and 25 May where young farmer representatives also discussed their ideal definitions of both ‘Active Farmer’ and ‘Young Farmer’, in a bid to inform a future CEJA position on the CAP post-2020. As process dictates, the CEJA Presidency and secretariat also presented the annual CEJA budget and activities to its delegates.