23 October 2020
The European Parliament voted against amendments to the proposed new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), “burying hope of real reform” for its almost 400 billion of funds, Friends of the Earth Europe said.
The vote closed off what the organisation called a “historically bad week for the future of farming”.
Accumulating the result with the EU’s Agriculture Ministers backing “agriculture-as-usual” targets, reaching the goals set out in the European Green Deal will be “impossible”, they added.
“We’ve got here as the result of the wrong policies and warped farming subsidies which mainly benefit a few industrial-scale factory farms.
Now this failing system looks set to continue, spelling disaster for the environment and small farmers,” Stanka Becheva of Friends of the Earth Europe said.
Citing previously commissioned research, the organisation notes that the CAP has aided the expansion of industrial farming methods and factory farms across Europe, and between 2005 and 2016 contributed to one in three small scale animal farms going out of business.
CAP, if unreformed, will continue to distribute the majority of subsidies as untargeted direct payments based per hectare with weak environmental strings attached.
The Parliament and member states will negotiate with the European Commission to reach a final agreement on the new CAP in 2021.
The new policy will cover up to 2027, and as part of its Green Deal plans, the European Commission has adopted targets to dedicate 25 per cent of agricultural land to organic farming, to halve the use of chemical pesticides and to give priority to biodiversity on 10 per cent of agricultural areas.
Fridays for Future and campaigners the world over took to Twitter yesterday calling on the European to reject the deal with the hashtag “VoteThisCAPdown”.
Irish school striker Saoi O’Connor urged MEPs to reject the deal, and said stressed that the future impacts of the Common Agriculture Policy is “‘not an environmental issue’, the climate crisis will impact everything and everyone in the world as we know it”.
Going ahead with the proposed CAP in its current form, according to Dr Bérénice Dupeux of the European Environmental Bureau, would be voting to “pour flames on the fire”.
Irish Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue welcomed the approach to the new CAP earlier this week, calling it a “first step” in providing a stable framework for farmers to plan their business over the next few years.