It must be a difficult task for a former impetuous political activist to enter a quiet and rule-abiding institution such as the European Parliament. Eager to get acquainted with the new faces, the Lobby sat in on the first AGRI committee meeting this week and – let’s be honest – was particularly keen to see José Bové in action as Vice-Chair of the Committee.
We certainly got what we came for: a boisterous debate punctuated with whistling and booing. Bové, from the top table, criticised the Commission’s stance on the milk crisis as being “autistic” when “farms are closing and farmers are committing suicide” – he received an ovation from farmers sitting at the back of the room. An interesting preview of what could happen in the next five years!
On our way back to the office we were wondering whether Bové could possibly change his opinion on the Lisbon Treaty now that he is sitting in the European Parliament. If the Treaty were to be adopted, it would ultimately confer more powers to the Parliament (and to the AGRI Committee in particular) for matters linked to the Common Agricultural Policy. Significant progress for someone who has always criticised the “Commission of Brussels” for “kidnapping” French agriculture…