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momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
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  Editorial  
 

François Hollande stands for producing more and better
with less!



Frédéric Hénin, Editor-in-Chief Terre-net


Article published in Terre-net Média



The “responsibility pact” presented by the French President has not gone unnoticed by the French Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA) and its president Xavier Beulin, a few weeks before the Conference on Agriculture he will steer.

The ceremony of the President’s New Year wishes to the press was held on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at the Elysée Palace in Paris. All members of the government were seated to François Hollande’s right side, with one exception, and not the least: Stéphane Le Foll, who is yet one of his close allies.

In fact, the Minister of Agriculture was working at the National Assembly where, at the very same time, its representatives adopted the project of legislation for the future of agriculture and fisheries. Not a single union is finding its way in the text, in spite of weeks of consultations and thirty-hour long debates. The collective did not hesitate in letting it known. The Confédération Paysanne demonstrated several times to voice its discontent through, as bogeyman, the plan for 1,000-cow farms, which symbolizes the agricultural model rejected by the syndicate. The FNSEA, for its part, reacted by announcing the organization of the Conference on Agriculture with its partners (Coop de France, CNMCCA, JA and APCA), to be held in February, just before the opening of the Paris International Agricultural Show. The FNSEA president has already released the list of the many demands to be submitted to Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.


THE VIEWS SUPPORTED BY FNSEA

The union chaired by Xavier Beulin does not see how the legislation “will boost the competitiveness of agricultural activities while following the path of agroecology, combining ‘farming self-rule’ and preservation of the environment”, as claimed by Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll. However, the project of Conference on Agriculture announced on January 7––which appeared somewhat odd then––has been legitimized a week later by President Hollande’s economic policy speech during the ceremony of the New Year’s wishes. In fact, the French President has taken over a portion of the views supported in 2012 by President of the Democratic Movement François Bayrou––to his absolute amazement indicates the Sunday January 19, 2014 issue of Le Monde––views that, once applied to agriculture, are also more or less similar to the demands made a week earlier by the FNSEA president.

“Now is the time to address France’s problems”, “to produce more” and “produce better.” And accordingly “to take action on supply to create demand,” stated the French President.

As far as agriculture is concerned, Xavier Beulin has been saying the same thing for years. The measures announced by François Hollande in his responsibility pact are included in the FNSEA demands, and could have supplemented the recently adopted project of legislation on agriculture.


CUTTING DOWN LABOR COSTS

Relieving businesses and self-employed professionals of the €30-billion cost of financing family welfare will fully benefit farmers liable for income taxes. Until now, the tax credit for encouraging competitiveness and jobs––the CICE––only concerned businesses’ payroll costs for corporate and income taxes for an amount of up to 2.5 times the minimum wage per employee. These lowered costs will have a limited impact on the labor costs of low-wage earners, since the “Fillon” incentives are already exempting low wages from a share of social contributions paid by businesses. The same applies to seasonal workers who are already benefiting from a widespread exemption system.

The FNSEA president also duly noted other measures: The administrative simplification “shock” restated by François Hollande, the priority focus on investment and examination of taxation to encourage investment and employment, and the new organization of territorial agencies.

Far from considering these measures as a slap in the face for Stéphane Le Foll and his new law, Xavier Beulin only hope they can be adapted to make them promising for the future of agriculture.

Stéphane Le Foll sticks to his roadmap

Considered by many observers as a new step, does the responsibility pact announced by François Hollande on January 14 call for a change of course in the roadmap followed by the Minister of Agriculture?

Absolutely “not”, answered Stéphane Le Foll while presenting his New Year’s wishes. Because the responsibility pact “is a negotiation that is only now beginning.”

Regarding this topic, there remains the urgent need to find an alternative solution to the CICE for cooperative business. The Minister has expressed his commitment to the Coop de France.


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Paris, 11 December 2018