If EU Environmental Protection Does Not Coincide with Creation
In this contribution by Vitaliano Gemelli, the narrow vote of the European Parliament on the proposal of the European Commission for “Nature Restoration” is examined. European farmers has opposed this new setback, considering some objectives unrealistic and ideological. The former President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions highlights the need to reflect on certain political choices and how to preserve the culture and history of the EU, crucial for environmental protection.
Rome, July 18, 2023
The European Parliament has voted on the “Nature Restoration” regulation. Here is the text from July 12, 2023.
This is the high name given to a questionable proposal by the Commission, which will still need to be discussed with the European Council for the final draft.
Most media titled the outcome as a victory for environmentalists against “conservatives,” raising the question: is there truly anyone in favor of an unbreathable climate like in major Chinese cities, in favor of witnessing violent climate events, cyclones, landslides, glacier melting, the risk of entire islands disappearing due to rising sea levels, desertification in Eastern Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, and the migration of marine life following water temperature changes, as well as the heating of temperate zones and the consequent transformation of arable areas? Is there really anyone, in their right mind, supportive of all this?
I do not believe there is anyone willing to maintain the current state of affairs.
Thus, newspaper headlines must be rewritten, and the real reasons behind events and political decisions should be presented, without bias but delving into the essence of matters and assessing the feasibility of certain directions, to avoid being unwittingly manipulated.
It is a reality that the entire European agricultural sector has taken a stance against the text voted in the European Parliament because some objectives are impractical, especially within the timeline proposed, and some ideological conditions cannot be accepted, as they hide the true goal of altering the European agricultural system.
For over twenty years, there have been attempts to dismantle the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), using all possible means and attempting to introduce changes that penalize farmers.
In the early 2000s, we strongly opposed the modification of the size of agricultural business units, as an industrial scale was being imposed that did not fit the reality of European agriculture, which comprises millions of farmers.
Subsequently, attempts were made – and continue to be made – to introduce GMO productions, against which the EU opposed, except for very limited and specific cases.
When it came to product labeling, external lobbies to the European agricultural world tried to render labeling essentially meaningless, requesting generic and non-specific data.
Another battle was fought against indicating the origin of products and all that connected production to a specific place.
The introduction of “parmesan” from South American production to replace the national Parmigiano is known to everyone.
Currently, it is “trendy” to promote alternative protein foods, and the European Commission has authorized the use of flour from certain edible insects with Regulation No. 893/2017. Subsequently, the domestic cricket (acheta domesticus), the larva of Tenebrio molitor (yellow mealworm), the migratory locust, and the larva of alphitobius diaperinus (lesser mealworm) were also admitted.
The unfolding over time of numerous initiatives aimed at creating an alternative to European agriculture cannot be without a driving force that intends to neutralize a competitor with vast production experience, research, and qualitative refinement, such as the EU with its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the first experiment in common policy launched in 1962.
China, the United States of America, Brazil, Russia, and India are among the major competitors of European agriculture, but the greatest pressure has always come from financial multinationals that control industrial agricultural production and intend to bring different products, including genetically modified ones, to the global market, as if they were selling computers or cars, not foods that directly affect human metabolic systems.
These power centers are also bothered by the system of quality controls of agricultural products, starting from production and fertilization, extending to transportation, packaging, storage, and disposal of yields, as these controls reveal the high quality level compared to products introduced to the market without such checks.
To take stock of the situation, the EU, in the era of alleged and presumed liberal-financial monoculture, represents an obstacle with its distinctions, differences, specificities, and above all, its three-millennia history, made of continuous civilizational achievements.
I am writing on July 14, the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, the beginning of the French Revolution.
Our self-proclaimed environmentalists must know that European agriculture, along with many other things, facts, and events, represents the Culture and History of European Countries, of all European Countries, and this Culture and History exist only on this continent. In other continents, except for Asia, the culture and history of indigenous peoples were erased by conquerors and immigrants from Europe.
The history of the United States of America dates back to 1776 with the adoption of the Federal Constitution (247 years, not three millennia), and the Native Americans with their culture were confined to reservations. The same happened to the Mayan, Inca, Aztec cultures, and all other existing cultures on that continent.
Italian, French, Spanish wines, German, French, Italian, Greek cheeses, dishes like Alsatian choucroute, goulash from Central European countries, Bourguignon and Aostan fondues, and many others are not just foods but are Culture and History of peoples, like the Mediterranean diet.
Just as for many other things, one cannot accept the cancel culture in the name of environmentalism, which is not at all about protecting the environment or “preserving or safeguarding Creation,” while also instrumentalizing the “Laudato Si.”
Moreover, how can we “preserve Creation” if we impose changing the car fleet by specific dates without considering the disposal of electric vehicle batteries or the additional production of electricity, mostly generated from fossil fuels?
In 2019, renewable energies provided 11.41% of global energy consumption by humans and 27.28% of global electricity, divided into 16.45% from hydropower, 5.47% from wind, 2.72% from solar, and 2.64% from the remaining sources.
In Europe, there are 314 million cars in circulation; if they were all powered by electricity, how many additional kilowatt-hours of electricity production would be needed?
Considering that the world is globally interconnected in economic, communicative, and financial terms, and even more so between Europe and the Mediterranean, why has no one thought of turning part of the Sahara Desert into a photovoltaic energy production site, exporting it to Europe and promoting the economies of countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and others, as it has been done for many years with oil and gas? On the other hand, when the supply of Russian gas was closed, the immediate thought was about regasification plants with significant costs, instead of enhancing the production of alternative sources, which progresses slowly.
However, the surprise is not due to the actions of agricultural or energy sellers or any other product, as they play their game, but for those countries and the EU that have not realized that over the years, multinational corporations have been working against the European economy to maintain dominance over economic and financial power, unlike China, which, with its economic dynamism (10% growth rate in the first decade of the third millennium), sought to lift its people out of poverty imposed by a regime that was certainly egalitarian (everyone equally poor), seeking market opportunities for its products, gradually granted based on the increasing quality of tested products, until its entry into the WTO, more for political reasons than for verifying the human rights conditions of Chinese citizens.
In an integrated economic and financial system – as it couldn’t be otherwise – the negative effects of exporting the 2007 financial crises (subprime) recorded in the EU were not compensated by those who caused the crises, but rather addressed by individual countries and partly by the EU and the ECB under Draghi’s management.
Certainly, the European agricultural system, with the CAP, can be modified, but the modification cannot be against all European farmers, but rather with them as protagonists, to help improve environmental conditions in collaboration with all other productive sectors and demanding that other countries (USA, China, India, Russia, etc.) respect all Paris Agreements in every aspect.
Such issues, so important for humanity, overshadow all political and partisan speculations made for the vote in the European Parliament on Frans Timmermans’ ideological proposal, which has received significant emphasis in national headlines.
If the EPP voted against the measure, it did so because it intends to represent the entire European agricultural world, considering the moment of the highest level of community policy. Being accused of conservatism rather than being a group faithful to the received mandate, which is not against environmental protection, as I mentioned before, means looking at events through a lens distorted by the call of international economic and financial lobbies, falsely environmentalist, and not considering that citizens have the ability to choose between flattery and the sounds of the popular soul of culture and history.
On the other hand, it is now known to all that some top European socialist leaders have occupied and continue to occupy significant roles in international economic organizations and are functional to rationalize the system, rather than attempting to rebalance the distribution of wealth, which continues to accumulate in the hands of a few global structures.
The environmentalist mask cannot hide reality, and I hope that young people (not all) who have sincerely followed Greta Thunberg, who is equally sincere and motivated, in this vote, will go on to seek the real motivations behind the choices of the EPP and nominally “environmentalist” groups, and they will notice the deceptions made by the latter.
To attribute value to this vote as an attempt to establish a right-wing government in the EU and present it as a failed attempt means once again not knowing the European reality and attempting to bend it to asphyxiating national policies, which in four different elections have seen four parties of different and opposing orientations prevail.
The European electoral outcome in 2024 is unpredictable, but surely there will not be a majoritarian alignment where the EPP is allied with AfD and Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National and similar groups, for a simple reason: the People’s Party (PPE) wanted and built the EU from 1950 onwards, while some European socialists and communists were firmly opposed because they looked to the alternative of the socialist and communist international. Therefore, the Christian Democrats have built Europe, along with European Liberals like Martino and qualified social-democratic representatives. AfD and Rassemblement National are anti-European parties and, therefore, incompatible with the objectives of the EPP.
Lastly, I would like to recall some less mentioned Europeans, in addition to Schuman, Adenauer, De Gasperi, Monnet, and Spaak, who played a crucial role in the construction of Europe: Johan Willem Beyen, Dutch, who conceived the common market and customs union; Joseph Beck, Luxembourgish, who created the customs union in Benelux; Louise Weiss, French, who fought for women’s rights; Marga Klompé, Dutch, defender of human rights and promoter of the single market, and many others, to whom one must not do wrong by forming alliances that contradict the very idea of globalized multilateralism and aim to assert the unipolarism and uniform thought of global financial lobbies.