by N. Peter Kramer
While the Council of the EU heralds that its negotiating position on the post 2020 common agricultural policy (CAP) reform package puts forward strong commitments from member states for higher environmental ambition, Greenpeace let us know that the European Parliament has ‘signed a death sentence for nature, climate and small farms.’ A majority of the Parliament voted for a deal on CAP that was agreed between the three biggest political groups, EPP (Christian-democrats), Renew (Liberals) and S&D (socialists). The Parliament rejected proposals of its Environment Committee to cut subsidies for factory farming of animals and to substantially raise the share of funding for environmental measures.
There was so much dissatisfaction about the decision among MEPS, that 166 of them, many going against their own party leadership, voted to scrap the whole CAP and asked the European Commission to go back to the drawing board. Striking was the remark of the EU’s agriculture commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, that the deal the Parliament struck was incompatible with the European Green Deal, not long ago joyful accepted by the same Parliament. The basic requirements proposed by the European Commission were, for instance, that farmers receiving CAP money are meant to protect peatlands and to leave aside more land for nature.
Over 60 years EU farm policy has been blind for farming’s impact on nature, rewarding farmers for producing more and expanding their farms. The Parliament missed the chance to reform this policy, which will shape farming in the EU for the next seven years, in a way that would measure up to the climate and environmental crises. Tripartite negotiations between the Council of the EU (the member states), the European Parliament and the European Commission are expected to start soon under the German Presidency of the Council.
Keep in mind that CAP represents 44% of the EU budget!