HERE in Brussels, some 27 environmental and health organisations have called for the withdrawal of the EU Commission’s CAP reform proposal to safeguard the European Green Deal.
In a letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (dated October 30th), copied to Vice-President Frans Timmermans, the signatories say that the European Parliament and Council positions on the CAP ‘work against the EU Green Deal (and the associated Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies).’ The NGOs say that the plans of MEPs and member states ‘allow billions of harmful subsidies,’ reminding the Commission chief that she had ‘pledged to phase out’ the payments in her Leaders’ Pledge for Nature.
They accuse the Parliament and Council of producing positions that ‘seriously erode the basic “do-no-harm” baseline (conditionality), increase production (coupled) payments, and remove safeguards such as on irrigation expansion.
‘They limit the climate, environmental, animal welfare and public health ambition,’ the 27 organisations say, ‘allowing or even requiring member states to put most of the funds into subsidising business as usual (or potentially worse) practices.
‘It is impossible to countenance spending €387 billion of taxpayers’ money, a third of the entire EU budget, on driving rather than solving the crisis,’ they tell the President and Vice-President.
The CAP’s green architecture had been ‘substantially watered down,’ they complain, warning that ‘we do not believe that the trilogue negotiations could fix this situation.’ Instead of the current proposal, the Commission should ‘table a new one that is based on supporting farmers in the transition away from industrial agriculture, to a Green Deal-compatible CAP,’ they propose.
‘The extension of the current CAP by two years makes this possible,’ they claim. ‘Our children’s’ future must come above what is politically expedient.’
• Rose O’Donovan is editor-in-chief of the Brussels-based publication AGRA FACTS