Farming’s sustainable future in danger as European Commission pushes for intensive agriculture

Posted on 26 February 2024

Today’s farmers’ protest in Brussels shows that the European Commission’s recent moves to scrap environmental rules under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) fail to respond to farmers’ concerns over unfair prices and a viable future.Ditching rules that protect biodiversity harms the long-term sustainability of farming in Europe, and plays into the hands of big agri-businesses who can drive prices down even further by intensifying and expanding their production. 

Anu Suono, agriculture expert at WWF European Policy Office, said: “The European Commission is running around like a headless chicken throwing environmental measures under the tractor. They are failing to solve farmers’ real problems by tackling unfair pricing and a Common Agricultural Policy that is no longer fit to secure our food supply in the long-term, prevent the loss of smaller, family-run farms and address the climate and biodiversity emergencies that farmers face.” 

Today, agriculture ministers are meeting at the AGRIFISH Council to discuss responses to the crisis. “We urge Ministers to work towards a 2050 vision for sustainable food systems to give farmers the long-term stability and investment certainty they so desperately need,” said Suono.

In January, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a new Strategic Dialogue on the future of agriculture with all relevant stakeholders. Anu Suono commented: “We call on the European Commission to stop undermining the Strategic Dialogue with ill thought-out, rash decisions made in a bid to win political favour before the European elections. The Strategic Dialogue can lay the foundations for a balanced, sustainable vision for the future of Europe’s agricultural sector, instead of repeated short-term, unsuccessful overhauls of the Common Agricultural Policy.”
Farmers' protest
© Julia Koblitz