Ministers shut green groups out of debate on EU’s ‘last chance’ farm policy
EU Agriculture Ministers will come together in Vienna next week to discuss the next reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
While representatives of the most intensive and polluting farms are time and time again given special access to these informal agriculture ministerial meetings, environmental civil society groups are shut out despite repeated requests for fair representation.
In a new paper published today, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), BirdLife Europe, WWF, and Greenpeace call on ministers to ensure the next EU agricultural policy supports farmers in the transition to sustainable farming. The paper identifies the need for funding nature protection; ending perverse subsidies for intensive agriculture and factory farming; ensuring environmental laws on farms are truly enforced; and involving environmental bodies in the reform process.
60 billion euro of EU taxpayers’ money is currently spent every year on Common Agricultural Policy subsidies that mostly fund intensive and factory farming. A recent evaluation  found that this direct payments system is failing the environment, society and the economy.
But a public consultation on the CAP from last year shows that citizens want the future CAP to prioritise environmental protection.
Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy at BirdLife Europe, said:
“Nature is dying at the hands of intensive farming. Farm ministers hope that by excluding civil society from discussions their problems disappear, but in reality, it’s only nature that disappears. This massacre can only stop by funding farmers to conserve nature.”
Bérénice Dupeux, Policy Offcer for Agriculture at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:
“Payments linked to agricultural production will not help farmers suffering from market imbalances and will harm the environment. It’s time to give a clear signal to the farming community that time is up on the era of payments linked to intensive production at the cost of future generations’ ability to farm.”
Jabier Ruiz, Senior Policy Officer, Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems at WWF EU, said:
“We cannot afford to have another CAP reform which does not guide this sector towards sustainability. We call on co-legislators to redraft the policy proposals with the ambition needed to resolve crucial environmental challenges in the next decade.“
 Carried out by a group of researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig.