Our territory

The AREFLH’s Europe

A strong lobbying action

The AREFLH's member regions gathered together to lobby the European Union.

With 25 regions representing more than 40 % of the fruit and vegetable European production and producer's main organizations, the AREFLH is in direct contact with the economic, social, environmental, regional and European realities.

Fruits and vegetables represent 16 % of the European agricultural production value and are supported only at the level of 3,5 % of the CAP budget. Very exposed to the international competition (the European Union is 5th in the world's fruits and vegetable production and the 1st importer), the producer's economic situation is difficult and precarious.

  • How are we going to protect the fruit and vegetables CMO as part of the Common Agricultural Policy reform ?
  • Is it possible to have a fairer distribution of value in the food chain?
    How can we promote it?
  • How are we going to better defend the producer's income at a time of crisis?

 

In answer to the producer's concerns and local economies, the AREFLH quickly established a continuous dialogue with the European authorities and within the framework of groups of experts.

Based on the issues expressed by the producer's organizations and their proposals, the Region's College brings its support to the European authorities.

A regular presence in Head Office.

The AREFLH is regularly in touch with  through its Agriculture, Health, Environment, Business and the  European Union Commission Region Departments. Good listening skills and a constructive dialogue allowed the progress of proposals.


Our objective is to be ready to listen to the preparation records, present operational proposals complying with the producer's interests of our regions and to negotiate their recognition by the Commission.

It is about providing information, raising awareness and persuading which will continuously be renewed in the long term.

The Fruit and Vegetables Intergroup

Having the joint decision since 1st December 2009, the European Parliament became a major representative for the AREFLH.

Very aware of the economic and social life of the European territories, to the conservation of the landscapes and the environment, our European Deputies are receptive to our demands.

That is why a Wine, Fruit and Vegetables, Traditions and Quality Products Intergroup was created created in autumn 2009. It brings together around thirty deputies of the Agriculture, Environment and Health Consumer Commissions.

Two or three meetings are organized every year on subjects such as the future of the fruit and vegetable Common Market Organization, consumption promotion, sustainable development and trade agreements with non-EU countries.

The AREFLH's representatives: The Commission, The Parliament...

Until this day, the European Union Commission was our main representative.

Since 1st December 2009, the European Parliament obtained the joint decision with the Commission, in application of the Lisbon Agreement.

We will have to inform and raise awareness in order to convince our European deputies. The "Wines, Fruit and Vegetables, Traditions and Quality Products" Intergroup, which the AREFLH contributed to in creating, is a very important forum.

For the defense of certain strategic portfolios, the AREFLH formed an alliance with the other European organizations to make a front (COPA-COGECA, FRESHFEL, PROFEL etc.) in order to strengthen the impact of the requests and proposals.
Regarding quality standards, the work is done in Geneva with the OECD (Organization of Cooperation and Economic Development).

The AREFLH's main areas

• For a more dynamic and secured CMO

The Fruit and Vegetables CMO could legitimately be considered as an example for other sectors of production:

  • the producers income depends on 96% of the market;
  • the fruit and vegetables CMO is based on the producer's organizations ;
  • it is co-funded by producer organizations and the European Union (the F&V sector is the only one with co-financing by producers);
  • the CMO includes the implementation of environmental measures (integrated and organic production) and quality improvement ;
  • the reformed CMO includes a system for crisis management.

It should however be simplified and made more flexible from the administrative and financial management point of view and allow for a better protection regardig the producer's income.

Introduced at the request of the AREFLH in the reformed CMO, the crisis management system is now largely ineffective and must therefore be strengthened. It is therefore necessary to consider an extension of the type of possible actions and instruments of intervention.
The transnational dimension of producers' organizations and the operational programs should be more strongly encouraged.
In addition, the Community preference must be reaffirmed and put in place.

In this context of the great influence of climate effects, successive economic crises  and increasing competition of imports from non-EU countries, fruit and vegetable productions need a reinforced Common Market Organization based on producer organizations and associations promoting collective actions.

• The CAP reform – The challenges

The Common Agricultural Policy has been one of the foundations of European construction, from which  27 current EU countries have federated.

To a large extent it has contributed to the establishment of modern and efficient agriculture, which was able to adapt to the societal requests of quality, food safety and permanence in supplies.

For some crops such as fruit and vegetables as well as wine, the common market organizations came to complete and strengthen the general European policy.
The Fruit and Vegetable CMO is a major tool for the production organization, its competitiveness, its adaptation to market demand, its participation in the territories occupation and to employment as well as the preservation of the environment.
It represents 3.5% of the CAP budget, whereas the share of fruit and vegetables reached 16% of the value of European agricultural production.

It is essential that the Fruit and Vegetables CMO keeps its place in the new CAP after 2013 and that its tools are still available for this vulnerable sector.

• Euro- Mediterranea: better know the forces at work.

The will of the European Union is to build a Euro-Mediterranean area of political, economic and social stability, and peace.
It goes through, in particular, the progressive creation of a free trade area of the goods and the services.

Producers and exporters of fruit and vegetables, the countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean sea are also competitors of the European countries.
That is why the AREFLH took the initiative to organize an information exchange between the producer countries, allowing beginning a research for complementarities in the productions and the calendars.

The Euro-Mediterranean Committee of the AREFLH decided to investigate working leads in common, at first for sensitive products such as the strawberry, the tomato and the melon.

In the end of January, 2009, the 3rd Euro-Mediterranean meeting took place to Hammamet in Tunisia, followed by a melon working group in May within the framework of the MEDFEL.

• The crop protection, the sustainable development, the food safety.

The fruit and vegetables consumption is always lower than the recommendations of the World Health Organization, in numerous member states. So, the program of fruit distribution at school, the programs of internal market and third country promotion, must be pursued, strengthened and put in synergy.

The means must be given to the producers to produce a quality product, answering the requests of the consumers and the requirements of the distributors within the framework of the integrated and organic production. In this perspective, a particular effort must be made to allow the basic and applied research to give producers not chemical alternatives (Framework Program of Research and Development).

• The producers organization and the retail distribution

The demand is generally not much elastic and increases of 5 % of the offer can led to rate declines from 30 to 50 % for the producers.
The third countries which export on the European market benefit from conditions of low-cost production of workforce and are not forced to the European phytosanitary, environmental and social rules.
The unequal report between the production and the distribution allows this last one to impose unfair trade practices and very strong pressure on production prices.

In this context,

  • It is necessary to restore, in a effective way, the community preference and to require from any bilateral and multilateral negotiation the reciprocity principle;
  • The European Union has to define a contractual and statutory frame in which these unfair practices are prohibited (discounts, refunds, payment times);
  • It is also necessary to stimulate the interprofessional cooperation in the sector, managed collectively by producers' organization or association of producers' organizations and at least another actor in the foodstuffs processing and\or marketing.

• The crisis management : proposition of a European and several-year offer management

During its analysis of the market crises for several products and strangely the peach and the nectarine in 2009, the AREFLH met from October the European Union Commission and presented the propositions of improvement of the device of crisis management of the CMO within the framework of the Commission regulation and, afterward, with a modification of the Council regulation.

On the request of the Producers College, we defended a European and several-year offer management, within the framework of preventive measures.
The objective is to create a limit price for the market by a revalued and very targeted use of withdrawals and by processing according to the case.
The AREFLH was sharp on this subject around which federated the majority of the European organizations.

• The market observatory: having necessary indicators for decision-making

The market transparency is a key point of the crisis prevention and management. The AREFLH defends the creation of a European observatory carried out by the European Union Commission and its main European organizations.

The observatory set up by the AREFLH from 2006 meets a need of the production, to position on the market with full knowledge of the facts. It allows having the necessary indicators for decision-making, in case of degradation of the offer-demand report.

The observatory works for the peach and the nectarine, the pear, the strawberry, the raspberry and the asparagus.

A feasibility study was carried out by the University of Bologna and given for the Commission during the summer, 2009.
At this date, no continuation was given by the Commission.

• The educational and consumption promotion program : Fruit School Scheme

To increase the fruit and vegetables consumption is an important stake and challenge for the production and the sector. The young people are manifestly sub-consumer of fruit and vegetables. With an unbalanced consumption, the obesity quickly progresses.

Nevertheless, the World Health Organization recommends a daily portion of fruit and vegetables of 400 gr minimum.
Beside Freshfel and the other national and European organizations, we defended the creation of an educational and consumption promotion program of fruit and vegetables in schools.

To prepare the consumption of tomorrow is a vital stake for the production and the distribution. For the AREFLH, it is a strategic priority.

Endowed with 90 million euro a year, this program started at the beginning of the 2009 school year for some countries and regions, and at the beginning of 2010 for the most part of the others.

• The free-trade agreements with the third countries: warned on the opening of the European market.

The European Union, in spite of the multiple warnings of the AREFLH and the other professional families, pursues its opening policy of the European market in the fruit and vegetables imports of the third countries (Tunisia, Israel, Morocco, Colombia, Peru ...).

In every case, fruit and vegetables are in the front line without respect of the reciprocity principle requested by the AREFLH. At least, some products remain classified sensitive, but concessions of volumes and calendar are the corollary.

A positive point, the European Union Commission is more active on the question of the phytosanitary barriers which set numerous third countries against the European exports.

• The integrated fight and the phytosanitary protection

The AREFLH worked a lot on the elaboration of a European guide line project of integrated production with the aim of its recognition by the EU Commission.
The integrated production is a full-fledged way of production. But, to be recognized and understood by the consumers and taken into account by the distributors, it must be recognized by Europe beside the organic production and has to communicate on the basis of a common definition and logo.

The directive on the pesticides sustainable uses, applicable in 2011, is going to make compulsory the reasoned protection but by adopting the subsidiary principle.

The phytosanitary commission works on the ratification equivalences within the framework of 3 geographical areas.
Finally, the AREFLH asked that an ambitious research program on the alternatives in the phytosanitary products is financed by the European Union.

While we attended the multiplication of the private certifications, we consider that the Commission must remind that, in a single market, the game rules must be uniform.

• Marketing standards

In spite of quasi-unanimity in favor of the preservation of the previous standards, the Commissioner has disregarded and promulgated the abolition of 26 standards to keep only the 10 more important  (July 1st, 2009). It was a battle lost by professional organizations.

In 2010, the Commission decided on an impact study to measure the consequences of these abolitions or their preservation in the case of the apple, cabbages flower, the carrot...!

• The ornamental nurseries: implementation of a European network.

On the initiative of the Toscana region, the AREFLH got involved in the implementation of a European network of regions for this branch of industry.

Having made an agreement of cooperation with the European Nursery Association, it met the services of the Commission.

Two topics were advanced:

  • the quality certification for procurement contracts;
  • the phytosanitary constraints.