Carlo Petrini’s Appeal to EU Members of Parliament

11 Mar 2013

On the eve of the vote on the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Slow Food’s President asks MEPs not to deny the requests of civil society. This appeal will be read out tomorrow in Strasbourg during the demonstration organized by Arc2020, a platform that unites 150 organizations that are advocating for real change in the CAP.

Dear Members of Parliament,

You are about to vote for amendments that will be decisive for the reform of the CAP. These historic amendments can affect the future of the citizens you represent and of future generations either very positively or very negatively. Although much is being done to limit the power of good that you can exercise in Parliament tomorrow, you still have the possibility to oppose those forces that are rarely transparent and in the interest of the public good. Because as Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote in The Leopard, “Everything must change so that everything can stay the same.”

It is no longer acceptable that money from all Europeans is used to support agricultural production per se, without the realization that it is immoral to collect money for polluting and impoverishing Mother Earth and acting insensitively towards citizens, not just as consumers but as the rightful owners of the public coffers. It is no longer acceptable that money from everyone supports the profits of a few, and must also be used to repair the damage to common goods caused by these profits. Furthermore we will not accept a CAP that helps those who can choose not to adopt environmentally friendly practices: sustainability is not an optional extra and should become an obligation for all, in the interest of all.

In this CAP reform, the mobilization campaigns and awareness raising directed towards MEPs have been conducted with much greater intensity than ever before. It is a sign that Europeans have developed an ecological sensibility that is not only militant, but widespread in civil society. This is simply in line with the times in which we live. Europeans have realized that this issue is pivotal and are no longer willing to overlook the powerful private interests at stake. When it comes to the CAP, the interest is public. Not to take this opportunity for a significant paradigm shift would be disastrous, as well as outrageous.

I appeal to all of you not to make this mistake, and instead to introduce mandatory measures such as crop rotation or conditionality strongly related to real greening and not just greenwashing. At the same time, I am sure that in any case citizens will continue this sacrosanct battle through their daily food choices. To use another quote, I strongly believe the words of the French sociologist Edgar Morin: “Everything must begin again and everything has already begun.”

The agents of change remain the citizens and I am convinced that change will take place in spite of everything, but it is time that those who have the power to speed up the process also begin to listen to the voice of the citizens and to do something concrete and responsible within an official context.

Yours sincerely,

Carlo Petrini
President of Slow Food

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