Late last night, EU Agriculture Ministers adopted a ‘backward’ position on the next EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Members of the European Parliament also voted in favour of an ‘anti-environmental’ proposal of the CAP despite outcry from scientists, citizens and the environmental community.
At stake is the future of the CAP, a 6 billion/year subsidy instrument that largely determines how farming is done in the EU. There is growing evidence of the environmental harm cause by an EU subsidy system that supports big, intensive farms and harmful, polluting practices. This has put the EU under pressure to transform the CAP to an instrument for effective support of small farmers who follow sustainable, nature-friendly practice. But EU Ministers and MEPs now seem set on a course to derail this greening of the CAP.
“The European Council and Parliament have declared war on the European Green Deal. Instead of helping farms convert to a climate and nature-friendly future, they are cementing a harmful subsidy system from the past with tomorrow's tax money. The climate crisis, droughts and the massive insect mortality are not solved in this way. BirdLife will continue to fight against this disastrous reform deal and MEPs still have the choice to reject the reform on Friday," said BirdLife Cyprus Director, Martin Hellicar. ”We recognise the brave stance adopted by Cyprus MEPs Georgios Georgiou, Niyazi Kizilyürek and Demetris Papadakis in voting for a motion to send this bad deal back for further discussions, but have to wonder why Cyprus MEPs Lefteris Christoforou, Loucas Fourlas and Costas Mavrides voted in favour of rushing through this environmental disaster of a deal,” Hellicar added.
The proposal approved by the EU parliament empties the new CAP of real environmental effectiveness, undermining key proposals such as the new eco-schemes and failing to bring the massive CAP budget into line with the aims of the EU Biodiversity and Food (‘Farm to Fork’) strategies. This despite the growing scientific evidence on the need to make EU farming more sustainable and nature-friendly.
Votes on other amendments continue until Friday, so there is still some hope MEPs will change tack and clearly link agricultural policy to sustainability goals and the EU Green Deal.
BirdLife Europe was clear on what is at stake: “At a time when decision makers tell us they are listening more and more to the science, Members of Parliament are delivering the kiss of death to nature. The CAP funds the extermination of nature across Europe, and now the Parliament has voted to give it another 400 billion euros of taxpayers’ money - enabled by their scandalous manoeuvre to bring the vote forward unexpectedly and at the last minute by a whole day so MEPs had no time to do their democratic duty. Scientists have condemned the greenwash deal as worse than business as usual. On Friday, MEPs must finally put the interests of European citizens ahead of vested interests of the intensive farm lobby and vote this whole deal down.”