Cosmetic changes won’t make CAP greening credible

A Commission proposal for a pesticide ban on areas set aside for nature protection will be discussed at a meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Brussels on Monday 18 July, in the presence of Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. The proposal for Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) is just one of 15 measures the Commission will put forward as part of its CAP simplification drive. At the AGRI Council meeting, the Commission will also present Ministers with its analysis of the first year of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) greening implementation process.

EEB Senior Policy Officer for Agriculture, Faustine Bas-Defossez, said:

A full ban on pesticides in areas set aside for nature protection would be the bare minimum to ensure that CAP greening is not a complete farce. If even such an obvious measure as this one is rejected by Member States, it will be the ultimate proof that the whole greening exercise has been in vain.

Digging deeper into the Commission’s own figures on greening makes it clear that such a cosmetic change will not make CAP greening credible. If the Commission is serious about a greener future for farming it needs urgently to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the CAP through a Fitness Check to find out if it is having a positive impact on the environment, farm livelihoods, and public health – all evidence seems to suggest the contrary.”

Notes to editors:

> This week, 16 MEPs called on the European Commission to conduct a major review of the CAP through a Fitness Check. The MEPs’ letter follows calls for a Fitness Check from 115 environmental, social, and health NGOs and a group of leading food experts.

> Today, the EEB and BirdLife Europe have published a short booklet ‘UnCAP the Truth – Spotlight on EU Farm Policy‘.

> EEB analysis of EC’s CAP greening report:

• Less than half of CAP beneficiaries do not have to meet any greening obligations meaning the CAP is not in fact “greener than ever” as claimed.

• 30% of agricultural land in Europe does not fall under any greening obligation.

• Member States must ensure Natura 2000 sites are managed ecologically, however Member States believe that over half of grasslands in these sites are not worth qualifying as environmentally sensitive.

• Around a third of arable land won’t be subjected to meaningful crop diversification.

• There will be no EFAs on half of all arable land. To boot, areas of permanent crops (e.g. olive trees and orchards) have been exempted from the obligation to have an EFA.

• Less than a third of EFAs will contain crucial elements for pollinators like flower-rich buffer strips and just one Member State restricted pesticide use on nitrogen fixing crops.

Cosmetic changes won’t make CAP greening credible
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