Slow Food Condemns EU Parliament’s Rollback of CAP Green Rules

24 Apr 2024 | English

Slow Food expresses frustration at the European Parliament’s vote in favor of removing basic environmental requirements from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which shows a blatant disregard for citizens, scientific evidence, and farmers. At times when biodiversity loss gains ground and climate change threatens European fields, the measures proposed by the CAP revision will only undermine the very jobs that they are meant to support in the long-term.

Marta Messa, Slow Food’s Secretary General, comments: “Today, the European Parliament has given in to the fake narrative that opposes the environment to agriculture, when evidence shows that they depend on each other. In the past months, we have seen farmers across Europe calling for fair revenues and viable prospects for the future of their sector. Instead, the EU’s response has been to call for an “emergency measure” to hastily slash vital sustainability rules, which were not the main concern of farmers but have been instrumentalized as such. What agriculture needs is for the EU to truly engage and financially support a transition to a model that safeguards agro-biodiversity, local territories and economies, as well as farmers’ livelihoods”.

The adopted revision not only undermines the long-term sustainability of agriculture but also disregard critical environmental and climate objectives outlined in the EU Green Deal. The EU Commission’s proposal will remove requirements to set aside land to promote biodiversity, making this and other measures — such as crop rotation — voluntary. This would enable farmers to get EU subsidies even if they don’t meet basic environmental standards, known as conditionality. Such a step backward is going to widen the gap between big industrial landowners and small-scale sustainable farmers who contribute to the vitality of rural communities.

Sebastien Mira, farmer from the Slow Food network in France, adds “I had hoped that the farmers’ movement would have resulted in European societies questioning themselves about what kind of agriculture they want. The only thing that these protests have gotten us is a reduction of our environmental ambitions to keep increasing production, but at what cost? Who benefits from such reform? It is the big farms – that are not farms anymore. They are companies that produce at very low cost to export their products. Their goal is not to feed people, it is to make profit. And 80% of CAP payments today go to these kinds of farms, it is unacceptable.”

While it is crucial to reduce administrative burdens for farmers, one of their demands during the protests of the past weeks, this should not lead to diminished environmental goals or worsen the effects of climate change and the ongoing collapse of biodiversity experienced by farmers.

By prioritizing short-term political considerations over the well-being of farmers and the environment, the Commission has deviated from democratic governance principles and policy coherence. The hastened procedure allowed for very little discussion about the proposed revision, as well as a flawed consultation process, with no impact assessment on whether this “simplification” would actually be beneficial to farmers.

Slow Food remains dedicated to advocating for policies that support sustainable agriculture, protect the environment, and ensure a resilient future for generations to come. If you want to know more about our priorities for the EU elections, check out our dedicated Manifesto.

 

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