European agriculture is currently sustaining approximately 9 million immigration farm workers, as stated by the European Commission.
This industry has undergone important shifts with persistent challenges related to informal employment and poor working conditions. To navigate these challenges, the European Union (EU) initiated the integration of “social conditionality” into the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform.
Understanding Social Conditionality
Social conditionality introduces a prerequisite for farmers to adhere to minimum social and labor standards to access CAP subsidies.
While currently voluntary, this measure is set to become mandatory across all EU nations by 2025. Notably, some countries such as France, Italy, and Austria have embraced social conditionality, implementing it as early as 2023.
This addition to the CAP represents a victory for migrant seasonal farm workers, both EU and non-EU residents. These workers have been steadfastly advocating for their rights.
More information about the mechanism of social conditionality can be found in Article 14 of Regulation 2021/2115.
Impact on Immigration Farm Workers
Advocates for social conditionality claim that the reform has great potential to improve the working conditions of immigration farm workers.
By tethering subsidies to compliance with social and labor standards, the EU aims to mitigate many of the issues that agricultural workers face. These issues include low wages, extended working hours, illegal work, and inadequate housing.
Apprehensions and Possible Challenges
While the introduction of social conditionality garners support, some people express reservations about the efficacy of sanctions at the national level.
These people claim that penalties for non-compliance may lack the necessary rigor, potentially compromising the reforms’ impact. They believe that the success of social conditionality hinges on effective monitoring and enforcement by national authorities.
Another potential concern is related to the inadvertent repercussions on small farms. Critics argue that stringent conditions may impact those with limited resources, potentially driving them out of the industry. To mitigate this, policymakers could explore tailored support mechanisms or incentives for smaller farmers to meet the evolving standards.
Despite that, the incorporation of social conditionality into the CAP represents a great effort to improve the situation of immigration farm workers within the EU.
Striking the right balance between incentivizing compliance and averting unintended consequences will ensure the success of this reform.
As we navigate the changes in European agriculture with the introduction of social conditionality, there’s an exciting opportunity for farms to enhance their workforce through innovative solutions. We encourage EU farms to check out VideoWorkers – an advanced hiring platform. VideoWorkers provides skill demo videos for candidates, making the hiring process more straightforward. This ensures the right match between skills and job requirements. Promoting legal and safe employment, VideoWorkers collaborates closely with EU employers to uphold the standards of social conditionality. By adopting tools like VideoWorkers, EU farms can not only meet regulations but also find skilled and legally employed workers to strengthen their teams.