This European ambition must of course not be solely defensive. That is the reason I am also proposing that a European industrial support programme be established for clean vehicles and that common infrastructure be deployed to make it possible to cross Europe without damaging it. We need new large scale projects and this is one that will reconcile our core industrial ambitions in the area.
A Europe that ensures our demanding vision of sustainable development is also a Europe of food safety and sovereignty, and I have deliberately placed this ambition here. We must ask ourselves the right questions, without taboos: is our Common Agricultural Policy protecting our farmers and our consumers? I look back at recent years, I do not completely have the feeling that it is, and we have come to this paradoxical situation in which the CAP has become a French taboo while our farmers continue to criticize the way it works.
Agricultural policy should not be a policy which over-administers all of the European Union regions, all of the sectors and quite often, an income policy roughly accompanying the transition and producing at times complex plans that we have trouble explaining to our peoples.
European agricultural policy must make it possible for farmers to make a decent living and protect them from market vagaries and major crises; it must help them evolve over time and build responsible agriculture. There will always be several agricultural models in Europe and I would like to see every country be able to support this transformation on the basis of their ambitions and preferences. And this new Common Agricultural Policy, so as not to be bureaucratic and unfair, must be the instrument of agricultural transition, of our sovereignty in the face of the major challenges of globalization. It must restore vitality and ambition to our rural regions.
In other words, I would like us to engage with assurance and originality in a Common Agricultural Policy with two important objectives: protecting us from these considerable risks and volatile global markets that could threaten Europe’s food sovereignty; and promoting the major European agricultural transition and giving countries more flexibility in organizing their regions and sectors, reducing bureaucracy, and, at regional level, allow for more flexible support for industries, wherever choices — which remain collective choices on the ground — are necessary.
What Europeans are demanding is to be able to have confidence in the foods and products they use on a daily basis, and that is part of the food safety I was talking about. And here too we see that acting at European level is vital. This summer we experienced this with what has been called the egg crisis. We saw that when something goes wrong somewhere in Europe, because of our integrated market, it has consequences everywhere in Europe that can cast doubt on our food safety, with a perfectly legitimate demand on the part of our citizens to be truthfully informed about these topics in real time.
We therefore should establish a European investigation and inspection force to tackle fraud, ensure food safety, and ensure compliance with quality standards throughout Europe. This transformation, we must also carry it out. And in this respect, I support the choice of President Juncker to end double food standards throughout Europe and ensure that this investigation and inspection force is the driver of this legitimate convergence.