“The objective of the Senate text is not to work for French agriculture, but to widen the window of Overton”

In May 16, the Senate ped the bill to “a shock of competitiveness in favor of the French farm”many of whose provisions are fueling strong controversy.

Carried by senators Laurent Duplomb (Les Républicains, LR, Haute-Loire), Pierre Louault (Centrist Union, Indre-et-Loire), Serge Mérillou (Socialist Party, Dordogne) and Sophie Primas (LR, Yvelines), the text “consecrates a delusional, dogmatic, retrograde vision” of agriculture, according to the agronomist Jacques Caplat, of the ociation Agir pour l’environnement. For Alain Bazot, the president of the UFC-Que Choisir, he is none other than a “real letter to Santa Claus from the FNSEA” – the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions.

The expression is in no way exaggerated. The text intends to allow the return of aerial spraying, for example, and the balancing of human health with possible economic benefits in the choice of authorizing or not the use of this or that pesticide.

It provides for the possibility for the Minister of Agriculture to override the decisions of the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses), the sanctuarization of mega-basin projects in the name of an alleged “major general interest”and wants to fight against supposed “overtranspositions” European regulations that would harm the competitiveness of the “farm France” – which, by the way, looks less and less like a farm and more and more like a factory. These are just a few examples.

The most controversial provisions of the text, if they were to be effectively enshrined in law, would probably not survive a reasonable interpretation of European case law and law, or the application of the precautionary principle, constitutionalized in 2005.

Inapplicable provisions

Other sections of the text are simply irrelevant. Should we fight against the overtranspositions that would undermine the competitiveness of French agriculture?

In L’Pesticide Atlasco-published by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Future Generations ociation has taken stock: France authorizes 291 active pesticide substances and is the third most permissive country in the European Union, behind Spain (296) and Greece (298), but far ahead of Belgium (279), Poland (271), Austria (270), Portugal (268), Germany (267) or even Hungary (264) or the Netherlands (261).

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Around the mega basins, two visions clash on the sharing of water

The question then arises of the real usefulness of the proposal. What good is a text of which one part is inapplicable, and another without real application? To understand, you have to be familiar with the principle of the Overton window, formalized in the early 2000s by Joseph P. Overton (1960-2003), an expert in political communication affiliated with a think tank free-market American.

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