Analysis. Coldiretti, Confagricoltura and the Alliance of Cooperatives led the opposition to a European law to protect agricultural land from tens of billions of euros in losses due to climate change.

A law that benefits agriculture but is opposed by Italian businesses

Italian agriculture really needs interventions to counter the negative effects resulting from global warming, such as the measures approved in Strasbourg on Wednesday as part of the Nature Restoration Law. The economic damage expected in the coming years, according to estimates in the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change, may reach €30 billion by 2050, due to reduced yields.

“The damage, especially to valuable crops, could also lead to a progressive loss of land value of agricultural land,” warns the document prepared by the Environment Ministry. However, Coldiretti, Confagricoltura and the Alliance of Italian Cooperatives have been at the forefront against the Nature Restoration Law. In a document entitled “Comparison of Italian Cooperatives’ Priorities in Europe”, published before a meeting with Italian MEPs on June 27, representatives of the Alliance devoted a paragraph to this issue, stressing “the need to rethink such divisive measures.”

On the eve of the vote, Alleanza Cooperative Agroalimentari president Carlo Piccinini had branded the proposal as “absolutely unrealistic, since it was thought out and written in a manner unrelated to the reality in which farmers operate on a daily basis.”

Piccinini trained his attack on Europe, while saying he was tired of constantly criticizing it – “but the point is that the Commission keeps wanting to advance regulatory proposals that risk making it almost impossible to continue farming in Europe, with the prospect of leaving more and more room for massive production from non-EU countries.”

This is the sovereignist bogeyman of massive imports, a favorite of Coldiretti and Confagricoltura as well. By their insistence, they succeeded in having the measure that would have limited the exploitation of farmland removed: the requirement to set up landscape elements with high biodiversity on at least 10 percent of the agricultural land used.

According to Confagricoltura, such a decision would have caused €6.5 billion in damages to Italian agribusiness; Coldiretti President Ettore Prandini applauded a choice that supposedly averted “a heavy reduction in production potential, with a consequent and significant increase in imports of products from third countries, harmful to the consumer and the environment.”

Meanwhile, the fishermen’s protest, convened by Coldiretti for Thursday in San Benedetto del Tronto (AP), took place as scheduled: “The revolt of the Italian fleet has broken out against the new EU policies that want to ban bottom trawling and cut fishing areas, favoring imports from abroad. The fleet sees its own existence at risk, sacrificed on the altar of ideological choices disconnected from reality,” explained a statement from Coldiretti. They have now taken up the language of the right, accusing of “ideology” every measure that would protect the environment, such as a reduction in the pressure on fish stocks. It is no coincidence that alongside Prandini, FdI minister Francesco Lollobridiga also took part.

In the end, it’s simple: “There is no food without nature. There is no business on a dead planet. There is no fight against the climate crisis without restoration of nature,” as the Italian League for the Protection of Birds (LIPU) summarized. The latter is among the organizations fighting for a bolder Nature Restoration Law, promising to put up a fight in the discussion that will now take place in the Trilogue format, informal negotiations attended by representatives of the European Parliament, Council and Commission.

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