Agricultural ministers reject all key environmental measures in future CAP

Posted on 20 March 2013    
Cows and buffaloes are common domestic animals int the Terai
© Simon de Trey White / WWF-UK
(Brussels, 20th March)  Late last night farm ministers from all the 27 EU Member States concluded their two day meeting to agree on a final negotiating position for the next seven year Common Agricultural Policy, 2014-2020. Unfortunately a range of issues that would have made this a slightly greener agreement have been deleted by ministers so that its environmental benefit will be even smaller than the policy that is currently in place.
Tony Long, Director European Policy Office
Council pushing through measures the European Parliament rejected

“EU ministers have scandalously pushed through measures that will allow many farmers avoid key elements of the greening requirements despite the European Parliament’s support for these measures. This is counterproductive for farmers, the public and of course nature.”

“It is also outrageous that at a time of severe austerity agricultural ministers have decided to support double subsidies for farmers for undertaking the same measures. This will illegally waste scarce public money.”

“If we want a future for farmers and the environment, ministers must realise that a deal must include policies that look after biodiversity, soil, water and all the other essential inputs for farming. This is why the Council’s decision to drop minimum spending for the environment in Rural Development, in opposition to the Parliament’s position, is unacceptable.”
On the environmental front what got pushed through?

Multiple exemptions for greening: The Council supported massive exemptions for farmers from the greening so that they can automatically obtain the 30% Direct Payments. In addition the specific greening measures have been significantly weakened so that they will not lead to environmental improvements.

No minimum spending on the environment: No mandatory spending thresholds have been included on environmental issues in the Rural Development – a major step backward compared to the current CAP where 25% of Rural Development is earmarked for the environment. 
Double funding: The Council explicitly supports double funding of certain farmers for the same environmental activity. If this goes through some will not only receive funds from the Rural Development pillar for environmental improvement, but they will then automatically qualify for the greening of direct payments.  Not only is this illegal, but it could cost up to €21 billion over seven years.

Removal of key environmental protection legislation proposed by the Commission: Two crucial improvements related to the Water Framework Directive and the Pesticides Directive that the Commission introduced were removed by the Council.
For further information:
PHILIPPE CARR, Media and Communications| WWF European Policy Office, Tel: +32 2 7400 925, Mob:+32 476 256 879 
Cows and buffaloes are common domestic animals int the Terai
© Simon de Trey White / WWF-UK Enlarge

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required