Disobedience to the European treaties is a key point in the program of the New People’s Ecological and Social Union for these legislative elections. An idea already put forward in the campaign of Jean-Luc Mélenchon for the presidential election. This time, for the representatives of this union of the left, disobeying Europe would make it possible to set up “local and organic” canteens in France.
Manon Aubry, Manuel Bompard, among others, supported this idea in the media. They thus affirm that the various parties of the union of the left, such as the PCF, EELV and LFI agree on this point. “On these specific rules we agree not to respect them”, advanced Manon Aubry. Should we really disobey the European Union to set up organic and local canteens? 20 minutes answers you.
Indeed, the European treaties impose not to make a difference between the products in its space. Whether it’s food, materials… “It’s the free movement of products, without distinction between French and Spanish, for example,” explains Tania Racho, doctor of European law. It is a principle of non-discrimination and equality provided for by the European and French treaties. And as a reminder, “European Union law prevails over national law. This solution is not specific to European law but is the consequence of the superiority of international law over national law”.
But in reality, in the case of organic and local canteens, it is not really a question of disobedience. “On this aspect, we would rather be on the cases of an exception, which exists”, advances the specialist. “Although it seems contrary to the free movement of goods, it is always case by case. The European treaties themselves provide for a list of exceptions, to which is added the list drawn up by the judge.
The process goes through three steps: Is it a treaty breach? In this case, yes. Is it justified? “The justification for a national law to go against European law cannot be economic”, warns Tania Racho. “But the environment is still a valid justification. »
Finally comes the third stage: is it not disproportionate? It should be checked that this new law planned in a country is not too detrimental to European rules. “It is often on this point that it poses a problem”, underlines the doctor. “However, there are already laws passing in the name of environmental protection. »
100% organic and local already applied in some canteens
The New People’s Ecological and Social Union is not the only one to promote this idea. During his first five-year term, Emmanuel Macron passed the Egalim law which aims to serve at least “50% of products under official signs of quality and origin (SIQO), organic and HVE” by 2022. “The Access to healthy and sustainable food is a priority: it is as much a question of social justice as of public health”, underlines the text.
Some cities are already applying 100% organic and local products in their school canteens, proof that European regulations are not so restrictive. This is for example the case of Courtonne-la-Meurdrac in Calvados. “It’s been 20 years since the municipality embarked on this process,” explains Didier Sanson, deputy mayor in charge of sustainable development, on the region’s website. The process was launched in 2003 and the 100% milestone was reached in 2017.
This is also the case of Mouans-Sartoux, a town of 10,000 inhabitants located on the Côte d’Azur. The 100% organic canteen based on raw, seasonal and home-cooked products was fully implemented there in 2012. The government website, which welcomes these initiatives, recalls however that food and the relocation of production are non-mandatory skills for the municipalities. For these two municipalities, the difficulty was not so much in the management of European law, but rather in short-circuit supply and in inventory management.