Disastrous agreement among the major political forces of the EU Parliament on the reform of the CAP in clear contrast with the objectives of the European “Farm to Fork” and “Biodiversity 2030” Strategies. Unconditional surrender to the big lobbies of industrial agriculture.
Last week, the major European political forces came to an agreement on the CAP vote, which, if it passes the European Parliament plenary vote scheduled to begin on October 21, will have disastrous consequences for the protection of biodiversity, nature, and the fight against climate change. The vote will fall in the same week as the crucial meeting of the European Council of Ministers for Agriculture, whose support to an ambitious CAP from an environmental point of view will be fundamental, even if for the moment national governments seem determined to water down the CAP’s environmental measures.
The agreement, signed by the three major European political groups, the European People’s Party (EPP), the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and Renew Europe (Liberals), on the next Common Agricultural Policy is very disappointing on the environmental side, and risks thwarting the environmental efforts of the new European Commission. This is loudly denounced by the main representatives of civil society and environmental NGOs throughout Europe: the European Parliament risks hindering and boycotting the European Green Deal process and its objectives contained in the recent Strategies approved a few months ago, those of the Biodiversity 2030 and the Farm to Fork.
Among the most harmful proposals agreed by S&D, EPP, and Renew Europe, there is the refusal to allocate a specific budget for the protection of biodiversity on the land of farms – through the creation of ponds, hedges and small wetlands although required by the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, and to remove the obligation of at least 10% of agricultural land dedicated to biodiversity. These measures would be fundamental to save the many endangered species throughout Europe. Another disconcerting element of the political groups’ agreement is the intention to remove the ban on ploughing and converting permanent grassland into Natura 2000 sites, which are protected areas of public interest and should remain protected for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.
These proposals, together with other instances of worrying language, could already mean the end of the ambitious EU Green Deal, which desperately depends on a radical reform of the CAP to succeed.
This agreement could be devastating as it proposes to divert resources to “environmental” practices that mostly large companies could afford and whose environmental benefits are questionable, such as precision farming. This sort of greenwashing financed with European funds could seriously hinder farms devoted to organic farming and agroecology.
“This proposal – says Marta Messa, director of Slow Food Europe and head of the Slow Food office in Brussels – is a declaration of surrender to intensive agriculture and to a status quo that favors few, and fails to support all those producers who produce food and safeguard the environment on a daily basis through agro-ecological practices. We appeal to the members of the European Parliament to keep the promises made to European citizens in the 2019 elections – a greater and more concrete commitment to the fight against climate change and the defense of biodiversity. And we also appeal to European citizens to be vigilant and participate in the processes that determine the future of our food, our planet, and our future”.
Currently, more than 35% of the total budget of the European Union, equal to about 60 billion euros paid by EU taxpayers, are spent every year on CAP subsidies which mostly finance intensive and industrial agriculture. This production model is one of the main causes of biodiversity loss, water, air pollution, and climate change.
Numerous studies and over 3600 scientists claim that intensive agriculture is pushing many species towards extinction. Since 1980, the EU has lost 57% of its farmland birds, in addition to butterflies, bees and other pollinators, which are in serious decline.
Protecting nature also means protecting all the farmers engaged in a serious agro-ecological transition. Citizens from all over Europe are demanding it, more and more clearly each year, organizing debates, demonstrations, online actions as part of the Good Food Good Farming campaign: politicians cannot continue to ignore them by listening only to the sirens of the agro-industry.
For more informations:
Slow Food International Press Office:
Paola Nano (+39 329 8321285) – Gioia Baggio (+39 349 9549799)
Slow Food is a worldwide network of local communities founded in 1989 in order to counteract the disappearance of local food traditions and the spread of fast food culture. Since then, Slow Food has grown to become a global movement that involves millions of people in more than 160 countries and works so that we can all have access to good, clean and fair food.