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Coup for big farmers worth € billions in EU payments

Transition to agro-ecological farming could be “frozen” until 2027

 

13 October 2020, Brussels – The future of ecological farming in Europe is hanging in the balance today after the main groups in the European Parliament struck a deal that will syphon tens of billions of Euros to big farmers with few environmental conditions. 

Next week the parliament and governments will both finalise their position on Common Agricultural Policy, worth €357 billion between 2021 and 2027.

Last night, parliament’s EPP, S&D and Renew groups, which together represent a comfortable majority in the European Parliament, struck what environmental groups called a “stinking deal”[1]. The groups have agreed:

Coup for big farmers
Roughly €162 billion earmarked to ‘income support payments’ between 2021 – 2027, with few environmental strings attached. These payments are notoriously ineffective and often siphoned to the one percent largest landowners. This greatly reduces the ability of governments to steer payments towards environmental improvements.

From green to economic goals
The flagship initiative to meet environmental & climate challenges, the Eco-Scheme, worth roughly €81 billion, is being severely diluted by shifting from purely environmental objectives to economic ones, including production and farm industrialisation.

Threat to organic farmers
The single stream of CAP shown to be effective in meeting green and social goals, Environmental, Climate and Other Management Commitments, has been slashed by about €12 billion, compared to what has been proposed by the European Commission. This would reduce financial support to both organic farmers and those transitioning to agro-ecological farming.

Bérénice Dupeux, EEB Senior Policy Officer for Agriculture:

“A coup has been struck today that will keep the cash flowing to the one percent of big landowners. This stinking deal is now very likely to be the position adopted by the biggest coalition of MEPs as they head towards a vote next week, so the threat is real. We are in classic EU territory; stuck in a cycle of destructive farm policy that seems to revert to the norm every time. We now face a freezing of the transition to agro-ecological farming that could last until 2027.”

Next week is an agricultural crescendo for EU lawmakers, with a final vote on reforms in the European Parliament on Monday and a final position agreed by agriculture ministers on Tuesday.