Home / Agricultural Economy / Agribusiness / French agriculture’s wild swing between right and left…

French agriculture’s wild swing between right and left…

President Emmanuel Macron’s call for a snap election on 30 June has upset the European political landscape, including that of agricultural policies, particularly in France, the biggest agricultural country in the EU.

Early polls in France, ahead of the election on 30 June and 7 July, suggest increasing polarisation. Macron’s presidential majority is predicted to finish third after seven years in power, trampled by the far right and the far left.

Jordan Bardella

Firmly in the lead is the far-right Rassemblement national (RN), which could well represent a majority in the National Assembly, and thus lead the future government. It is followed by the Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP) – an alliance of the main parties on the left, and then Macron’s Renaissance.

What will happen to agriculture with Jordan Bardella (RN) or Jean-Luc Mélenchon (NFP) as prime ministers?

Let’s start with what’s divisive.

On the whole, the forces on the left want to reconcile agriculture and ecology, by planning to phase out pesticides or make organic farming more widespread. At the European level, the compass remains the Green Deal, which is supported, at least in its ambitions, by the Left in Europe.

For the Rassemblement national, these environmental standards are the main enemy. No ban on pesticides without alternatives, but yes to reduced tax and administrative burdens for farmers. The far right wants to revive French competitiveness by focusing on regulatory relief.

Jean-Luc Melenchon

It is not very original and in line with the demands of sister parties in Europe.

More interesting are the convergences. The two movements on the opposite sides of the spectrum aim to do away with the free trade agreements that have been condemned by almost all the demonstrators in recent months.

Bardella’s party promises to put an end to new trade agreements between the EU and third countries, and is calling for a “moratorium” on all previous ones. Mélenchon’s party is calling for an end to the era of free trade.

Both hope to implement a “French agricultural exception” – even if the Left has abandoned the term – i.e. favouring national food production in trade negotiations.

Farmers’ income is also at the heart of the two opposing forces’ agricultural programme. They are calling for “floor prices” on agricultural commodities to ensure decent incomes for farmers.

It remains to be seen how they intend to apply this within the European framework.

On the one hand, the European Commission has exclusive competence over trade policy, and even if agreements must be validated by national parliaments to be fully applied, the agreement with Canada (CETA) – which has been in force for seven years already without the latter’s approval – shows that there is nothing imperative about it.

As for price floors, Bardella acknowledged last February that they could not be introduced at the national, or even European, level, as they would plunge France into economic abyss.

If the Rassemblement national or the Front populaire come to lead the government in July, France could start a tug-of-war with the EU over agricultural issues.

Will a French agriculture swinging between the right and the left unbalance the European agricultural policy? The question is more important than ever.

By Hugo Struna | Euractiv

Agrifood Journalist,

Location: Paris
Languages: English, French, Italian
Expertise: Agriculture, Food, Ecology, Science
Location Expertise: France

About İsmail Uğural

Check Also

Türkiye becomes the new production base of coffee!

While countries known as the homeland of coffee have experienced production losses exceeding 30 percent …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *