AGRI Committee likely to block todays ENVI vote for a real greening of CAP
Brussels, Belgium (19th September). The European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) has just given the thumbs up to a green reform of the CAP in an important vote. If these proposals were introduced, a robust greening package for the Direct Payments scheme would follow, meaning that farmers will only receive their subsidy allocation if they adhere to a strict environment practice. In another important move the ENVI Committee has voted against the inclusion of farm insurance measures that would divert limited money away from important environment measures.
Unfortunately this will count for little as the Agriculture Committee (AGRI) is unlikely to take notice of the opinion. AGRI’s only formal duty is to consider the opinion and is likely to back an “a la carte” menu of greening, which will allow farmers to pick and choose the environmental measures they find easiest to implement. Any coordinated plan by the EU to tackle problems like climate change or loss of biodiversity will be rendered impossible as Member States and individual farmers will implement a multitude of different measures which will be impossible to assess.
Quotes: Tony Long, Director of the WWF European Policy Office
“The Environment Committee must be applauded for voting for a set list of greening measures at farm level and for rejecting farm insurance measures which will take money away from successful environmental schemes. The Agriculture Committee has a moral responsibility to listen to the advice of its fellow MEPs if the EU is going to be socially and environmentally responsible. The € 50 billion annual CAP budget will be at risk if it cannot demonstrate that increasingly show that public money is being used to secure public goods like accessing clean water and combatting climate change.”
“The menu system that the AGRI Committee suggests for the Direct Payments is too difficult to administer. It is lunacy to imagine that each farmer will able to decide what elements of greening he or she will adopt. How would we evaluate such a complex system? More importantly how can we plan environmental policy when we don’t know what farmers will endorse locally? The AGRI Committee needs to row back on this one“
Note to Editor
Most of the 7,000 amendments to the draft reports in the AGRI Committee (published in May) show that a progressive CAP that protects the environment has been relegated to the bottom of priorities by the AGRI Committee. The main proposals included in the “à la carte” menu of watered down greening include:
- Environmental Focused Areas, which are designed to provide a haven for biodiversity on farms, will be reduced from 7% to less than 5% of farm holdings (or possibly deleted);
- Minimum thresholds for applying crop diversification would be set higher 3 hectares (with less crops in the mix)
- Moving funds between the direct payment and Rural Development fund (Pillar 1 and Pillar 2).
This vote comes on the same day as citizens from across Europe finish the “Good Food March” in Brussels to alert politicians of their concerns about the CAP and the Environment. The public’s view must be listened to. The best expert advice must be listened to.
Philippe Carr, WWF European Policy Office,
Media & Communications,
WWF European Policy Office,
Tel: +32 476 25 68 79