Common Agricultural Policy: a decisive vote in Parliament

23 Oct 2020

We ask MEPs to vote responsibly and vote for a CAP in line with the objectives of the Green Deal.

Today marks the end of a week of the parliamentary debate on the reform of the European Common Agricultural Policy and the vote on the numerous amendments tabled, including the maxi-amendment resulting from the agreement between the major political forces of the EU Parliament that betrays the ambition of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. Today’s vote is decisive because what will be approved by the EU Parliament will weigh heavily on the negotiations of the “EU Trialogue” (Commission, Council and Parliament) which will begin in the weeks following the vote. Our hope is that this proposal – heavily modified and amended compared to what was presented by the Commission in 2018 – will be rejected in its entirety and that it will be returned to the Commission.

Reminder: The Common Agricultural Policy represents 34.5% of the EU 2020 budget (58.12 billion euros). About 80% of the CAP budget supports the income of 20% of the beneficiaries.

CAP discussions at the European Parliament are an unacceptable downward compromise

The ability to see the glass half full or half empty in politics is often the consequence of the ability to accept compromise. There are cases, however, where a downward compromise has repercussions on the lives of citizens and future generations and cannot be accepted.

This week’s vote in the European Parliament comes after days of tension and commitment on several sides to try to avoid what had become evident in the that is, a U-turn with respect to the ecological ambitions that many of us would have liked to read in the proposal for the post-2020 CAP. This week’s vote weakens the strong ecological commitment that we expected as a result of the publication of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity 2030 strategies by the European Commission.

National agriculture ministers and the agreements between different political parties have broken the dream of a radical shift for a real ecological transition, in line with the Green Deal, and this is bringing us backwards to a past that we did not want to deal with anymore.

 

The proposal of the EU Parliament closes the door to the Green Deal

And yet, during the plenary on Wednesday 21, and in political commentaries published, we heard statements about a ‘green’ CAP through which we could achieve many important objectives in terms of the agri-environment. Which objectives? The Green Deal does not seem to exist anymore, it certainly does not take up much space. The basic question remains the same: changing paradigm does not mean adapting the current one by adding or removing something else. It means, concretely, taking a blank sheet of paper and start writing a new model knowing that you start from a devastating situation.

It seems instead that politicians prefer to adopt a short-sighted approach, without understanding that we cannot go on this way. In doing so, politicians are greenwashing the truth to their citizens, by assuring them that this CAP is greener, that the environment is being taken into account, and that farmers will be happy. Instead they should be saying that they do not have the courage to face the world of the agro-industry. A politician who really wants the European Union to grow and be strong should be choosing the path of a real and coherent ecological transition, with no compromises.

 

We do not need a greener CAP, we need a paradigm shift

It is not enough to have a slightly greener CAP than the previous one; what is necessary is a CAP able to tell Europe that it is high time to change approaches. We must acknowledge the efforts made by the European Commission in recent months and we put our hopes in its power and influence for improvements in the coming months.

 

Today is the final vote in Parliament

We are in a crucial week starting with the definition of all positions before reaching the negotiations and culminating in the final vote scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, October 23. The time to hope for a well-reasoned position is not yet exhausted but the signals that have been sent are disappointing. The European Parliament seems to be in a world isolated from the outside context; a world made up of people completely unaware of the state in which the planet finds itself and of the necessity for agriculture to contribute to climate mitigation. The choices made are all downwards and will end up feeding a model that has nothing to do with agroecology, with the protection of biodiversity, nor with the conservation of resources.

Francesco Sottile

From the manifesto of 22 October 2020

 

Follow the discussion on Twitter at #VoteThisCapDown !

 

 

 

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