EU body calls farm policy’s green credentials into question

Two different cultures, wheat and sunflowers, hope for the same food every day. Biodiversity in crops in rural areas.

The last attempt to ‘green’ EU farm policy did not lead to any significant increase in environmentally-sound farming practices – despite European governments spending a huge chunk of the EU’s annual budget on the scheme.

That’s the conclusion of a new European Court of Auditors report [1] published today.

The EEB welcomes this new report and calls on the European Commission to take on board its conclusions ahead of talks on the EU’s overall finances and the make-up of its next farm policy.

The EEB is Europe’s largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations with around 150 organisations in more than 30 countries.

EEB Policy Manager for Agriculture and Bioenergy, Faustine Bas-Defossez said:

These new findings are yet more proof that the current Common Agricultural Policy is not working. This report is a warning cry to the European Commission that farm policy must be redesigned. It’s time to move away from untargeted and even harmful annual payments and shift to a truly results-oriented scheme tied to real objectives and strong accountability and not just green window dressing. It is worrying that despite the mounting evidence that throws into question the legitimacy of direct payments, the European Commission still favoured making them the centrepiece of its plan for the future of farming.”

Today’s new report from the European Court of Auditors comes just weeks after the publication of research [2] that the CAP direct payments system is failing the environment, society and the economy.

The European Court of Auditors report makes three key recommendations:

  • The Commission must ensure the new CAP contributes to the EU’s environmental and climate-related objectives through specific targets. (This recommendation comes just two weeks after the Commission published its plan for the future of EU farm policy which barely mentions how unsustainable agriculture practices have led to a disastrous state of nature on farms in Europe.)
  • Member States should not be given freedom to implement rules as they choose with no questions asked, rather they must be accountable and demonstrate how they will achieve the policy’s environmental objectives.
  • Farmers should only receive CAP payments if they meet a set of basic environmental rules and failure to do so should result in financial penalties.


[1] Read more:

[2] New research shows that EU farm policy is not fit for purpose and it does not does not do enough to halt environmental degradation, reduce biodiversity loss, or address climate change. The research (carried out by 23 researchers assessing over 450 peer-reviewed scientific papers) was carried out after the Commission failed to do its own evidence-based evaluation. The research was commissioned by the EEB, BirdLife Europe, and NABU.

For more information:

Faustine Bas-Defossez, EEB Policy Manager for Agriculture and Bioenergy

+32 (0) 4 872 442 70