Council looks to bury real greening in reformed CAP
Spain receives some €6.6 billion in agricultural subsidies that are distributed directly to olive, rice or cotton farmers. Traditional irrigation by flooding the fields in Orihuela, Murcia, Spain.
Brussels, Belgium –The Agriculture and Fisheries Council discussion this morning was the death knell for many of the greening measures contained in the original Commission proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy reform.
“It is truly depressing to see the direction that negotiations are taking at such an early stage. Member States should be taking stronger environmental measures, rather than working at forming a consensus behind closed doors that will sink the Commission’s proposal. The Council is intent on sacrificing the 7% of Ecological Focus Areas*(see editorial note), despite the best scientific advice. They are contravening all logic.” said Tony Long, Director of WWF’s European Policy Office.
“Citizens will not stand by in these difficult economic times and allow farm payments which directly or indirectly lead to the destruction of nature, the contamination of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and the over-abstraction and pollution of water. Member States have to listen to public sentiment and start taking serious strides in protecting the environment,” Mr Long concluded.
There was wide spread agreement amongst Member States that the 7% Ecological Focus Areas are too ambitious and should be reduced. However scientific opinion already suggests that we need a minimum of 10% of land dedicated to Ecological Focus Areas if biodiversity and environmental connectivity is to be optimally supported, less than 7% is insufficient.
In addition to this, Luxembourg’s proposal for a menu of greening options, from which Member States could pick and choose, is reckless. This means that not all measures will be applied evenly, and Member States will probably employ the options that have the lowest financial cost rather than what is best for nature and society. European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş recognizes the danger of a “pick and mix” policy and is right to defend against it.
Notes to the Editor
Ecological Focus Areas are a part of farmland that is dedicated to environmental rather than agricultura usel. The aim of this land includes reversing biodiversity loss, reversing the loss of birds and insects, reducing water pollution and soil erosion.
For further information:
Philippe Carr, Media & Communications,
WWF: European Policy Office,
Tel: +32 476 25 68 79