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Hearing of COPAGRI

24 March 2022

Thursday 24 March 2022, Hearing of Coordinamento Giovani Agricoltori – Confederazione Produttori Agricoli (COPAGRI)

Federica Agati is the contact person for relations with Parliament and the head of Coordinamento Giovani Agricoltori (Young Farmers Coordination) of Confederazione Produttori Agricoli (COPAGRI), a professional agricultural organisation operating throughout Italy

After graduating in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Catania, she attended a Master course in EU and International Politics at the Cattolica University of Milan, a Master course in International Relations and International Protection of Human Rights at SIOI – Società Italiana per l'Organizzazione Internazionale, and a training course on Regulatory Impact Analysis at the National School of Public Administration (SNA) with the Department of Legal and Legislative Affairs at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

She has been the contact person for relations with Parliament and the head of COPAGRI (Young Farmers Coordination) since 2021. In previous years (2018-2021) she served as legislative and policy advisor at the Chamber of Deputies and, before that (2014-2018), as advisor at the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (government-EU sector).

Summary of the hearing

Federica Agati pointed out the future of Europe lies in overcoming politically outdated pre-conceived models, through governance reforming and decision-making simplification processes.

Taking into account the current geopolitical situation, she highlighted the need for a common security and defence policy and a common energy policy, proposing the activation of a European emergency plan similarly to what was done during the Covid-19 pandemic. She hinted at the Stability and Growth Pact and the review of economic policies on State aid, proposing to make the temporary mechanisms introduced with the pandemic crisis structural. She also called for a more central role of the European Parliament and for Council decisions to shift from unanimity to qualified majority voting.

In her view, the starting point lies in acknowledging the European Union not as a mere association of countries, but as a real community of values to be defended and promoted.

With specific reference to agriculture, she highlighted the key need to strengthen EU's production capacity and food supply, with a focused approach to environmental and economic sustainability and energy self-sufficiency.

She believes it is necessary to promote a generational change, so as to reverse the worrying trend whereby only 11% of EU farms are managed by farmers 

under 40, a segment of the population that by nature is more inclined to digitalisation, innovation, sustainability and new technologies, such as agriculture 5.0 and renewable energy. In her view, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) measures are insufficient to achieve this objective. More specifically, CAP measures tend to strengthen the socio-economic sustainability of farms only after young farmers have started up, and do not remove the main barriers to entry, such as access to land and capital.

In order to attract young people while avoiding depopulation in the so-called “inner areas”, it is essential to strengthen the tangible/intangible infrastructure system, bridging the digital divide and remedying broadband diffusion delays.

In order to promote generational change (also to the benefit of those who come from non-agricultural backgrounds), action is required on several fronts, with more ambitious place-based social objectives to take into account the peculiarities of individual territories and obtain effective responses in the medium and long term.

Eventually, Ms. Agati highlighted she hopes the Conference on the Future of Europe will open the door to ongoing dialogue between citizens and institutions.

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