7. Neoliberal conditionality to the European agricultural system: free trade agreements as a paradigm

  1. Lasa López, A. 1
  1. 1 Department of Public Law, Historical-Legal Sciences and Political Thought, Faculty of Social Sciences and Communication, University of the Basque Country, Barrio Sarriena s/n, 48940 Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain.
Transforming food systems: ethics, innovation and responsibility

ISBN: 978-90-8686-939-8 978-90-8686-387-7

Year of publication: 2022

Type: Conference paper

DOI: 10.3920/978-90-8686-939-8_7 GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor


Although the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been interpreted as a singular policy, alien to the conditioning factors of the integration project aimed at the construction and subsequent consolidation of the internal market, we do not share this sugar-coated vision. On the contrary, we believe that from its initial configuration it responded more to a political orientation based on prices and markets than to a logic of sustainable rural development with present and future environmental and social needs. These weaknesses of European agricultural social and environmental regulation are also present in the European Union’s trade agreements with non-member third countries, which further underline the absence of their regulation as global common goods. In this respect, the European Commission’s proposal for the revision of the EU’s trade policy [COM (2021) 66 final] is illustrative of the functional dynamics of indirect social and environmental regulation, which is connected to the system of guarantees of the internal market, free competition and fundamental economic freedoms. We therefore believe that the fulfilment of social and environmental objectives will only be possible through a new sustainable trade policy that allows market intervention and control of production and price formation. The aim must be to minimise supply chains in order to focus on quality, in terms of environmental and social sustainability of the results. This, in turn, would require democratisation of the negotiation and decision-making processes on CAP and trade policy. To this end, the participation in these processes of genuine farmers and citizens as architects of a new Agriculture New Deal is a sine qua non condition that cannot be postponed any longer.

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