MEPs “must refuse” CAP propsal and send it back to the Commission

20 October 2020 

European environmental organisations have urged MEPs to reject the current Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) proposal and send it back to the Commission ahead of a crucial vote. 

Last night, European Parliament President David Sassoli moved up the body’s vote on the policy to this afternoon, a move according to Birdlife Europe that “favours the approval of the deadly CAP deal without proper scrutiny”. 

“This is a subversion of the democratic process. MEPs must refuse this,” the organisation warned on Twitter. 

MEPs are being called on by activists to vote in favour of Amendment 1147 this afternoon, which will revert policy reform back to the Commission.

The new Common Agricultural Policy will cover the next seven years and the European Union previously said 40 per cent of its overall budget and at least 30 per cent of the Maritime Fisheries Fund will be geared towards climate action. 

Just last month, the Irish Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told the EU AgriFish Council that the new policy must ensure “better environmental and climate outcomes” within agriculture. 

According to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), leaks, statements and last minute deals suggest EU lawmakers are “preparing a stinker”, by supporting unsustainably farming and sending tens of billions of public funds to the top one percent of big landowners.

The move, they added, flies “in the face of EU statements and strategies aimed at addressing ecological collapse largely driven by agriculture”.  

To date, the European People’s Party, Renew Europe and the Socialists and Democrats Group support the current CAP proposal. 

Next CAP to remain “a swamp” 

The EEB said it expects the next CAP to remain a swamp of vested interests that are “stuck in the past” and that it will maintain financial incentives for intensive farming. 

The organisation also said that for the first time, the EU will hand almost the entire CAP budget to governments with “only vague rules and targets”. 

A large portion of the €350 billion pot will go into Direct Payments, which the EEB notes will go to “the worst kind of destructive farming, with little environmental conditions”. 

Environmental organisations are calling for a full half of such payments to be ring-fenced for ecological farming practices, but large-scale agricultural industries and agriculture ministers are pushing for no more than 20 per cent to be allocated. 

The new policy is likely to lift the current subsidy limit each beef and dairy farm can claim for production, which will worsen the problem of overproduction and falling prices for livestock farmers, according to the EEB. 

To date, nearly half of Europe is farmland, the majority of which is used for intensive practices such as monoculture and the spread of toxic chemicals into soil and water. 

“This is mainstream farming without a future,” the EEB said. 

Negotiations between the European parliament and Member State governments will commence after today and expected to conclude by mid-2021. 

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Kayle Crosson