Munich, 5 May 2023
Members of the European People’s Party (EPP) gathered in Munich on 4-5 May for a Political Assembly which featured high-level discussions on German and European politics as well as on the future of agriculture and innovation. The event was also a demonstration of clear support for one of the EPP’s German member parties, the Christian Social Union (CSU), ahead of decisive state elections in Bavaria next October.
The Assembly included speeches by EPP President Manfred WEBER, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) President Friedrich MERZ, Minister-President of Bavaria and President of the Christian Social Union (CSU), Dr. Markus SÖDER. It also featured a special intervention by the Prime Minister of Slovakia Eduard HEGER.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Weber gave special importance to the need to support European farmers during the green transition. He asked for a two years’ moratorium on new regulatory initiatives which place more burden on farmers and endanger food security.
Mr. Merz also warned in his speech that the EU should consider the economic challenges that come with the fight against climate change. He added that the EPP must lead the way so that the European Union becomes a more competitive and knowledge – based economy in order to meet the competition by the United States and China. The European centre-right parties should be a dominant force both in Germany and in the EU, he concluded.
In his remarks, Dr. Söder emphasized that a balance is needed between the Green Deal and an economic deal to guarantee the competitiveness of the European economy. He made clear that Europe was not “a project for the elites” and that member parties should do everything to avoid excluding rural areas.
In Munich, the EPP adopted its position on the future of agriculture in Europe. In a resolution called ”European Farmers’ Deal: EPP Vision for Agriculture in Europe”
, presented by EPP Vice-President Siegfried Mureșan, the party strongly defended agriculture as “a strategic sector” which delivers “food security” and should provide a “decent income” for farmers. The EPP also advocated for a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with a “strong budget” to be negotiated after the European elections in 2024. The party supports the reduction of the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and antibiotics in European agriculture. However, the resolution rejected the European Commission’s proposal on the “Sustainable Use of Pesticides” as it sets too strict deadlines and “does not offer farmers viable alternatives”. It also rejected the Commission’s ”Nature Restoration Law” as it might raise additional bureaucratic hurdles for farmers and risks further endangering the economic viability in rural areas.
The EPP also adopted its position on the EU’s need to enhance innovation. In a resolution led by EPP Vice-President and Commissioner Mariya Gabriel on “Powering Europe’s Future with Innovation”
, the party pledged to make innovation “the basis of societal prosperity and economic competitiveness” in Europe. Emphasizing the importance of deep tech innovation and artificial intelligence, the EPP should aim for a vibrant education system to improve much needed digital skills as “without education, there is no innovation”. Additionally, the EPP must push for a “human-centered” approach, so that the EU capitalizes on technological progress but at the same time respects European values.