Next EU budget can usher in end of harmful farming era

It’s just one week to go until the publication of the Commission’s proposal for the EU’s next 7-year budget on 2 May, and how much funding the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will receive under the deal is a key issue in the budget talks.

The EEB has called on the Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger to ensure that 50% of the overall farm budget is legally ring fenced off for environmental and climate protection.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe’s largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations with around 140 organisations in more than 30 countries.

At the last CAP reform in 2013, EU Member States afforded themselves so much flexibility on environmental commitments that it rendered the direct payments system a failure for the environment, society and the economy.

Bérénice Dupeux, EEB Policy Officer for Agriculture, said:

“European taxpayers need to know exactly what their money will be spent on before it is allocated to the farm budget. At least half of the farm budget should be used to protect the environment and climate. And this means supporting farmers to do more than just the bare minimum required to comply with EU water and nature protections. If there are no legally binding, accountable, and ambitious goals for environmental farm spending, then national governments will inevitably take the lowest common denominator approach.”

The Commission will publish proposals for new EU farm laws on 29 May that would come into effect across the bloc in 2020 and the EU executive has promised that these forthcoming legislative proposals will set out objectives for the new policy that will reflect a “higher level of environmental and climate ambition”.

EU governments will then have to set out plans that show how they would meet these objectives in practice.

Bérénice Dupeux said:

With people across Europe rightfully concerned about how EU money is spent, the Commission has a duty to ensure that the future farm policy will contain a higher level of green ambition. Citizens expect public money to be invested in a farming model that does not destroy nature by polluting our precious soil, water, and air. The only way to do this is to ensure that environmental and climate ambition is enshrined in the farm budget by ring fencing funds.”


> There is a mounting pile of evidence that our intensive farm system is damaging the environment.

– On 23 March over 500 experts issued a ‘red alert’ that stated the risks to future food security posed by nature destruction are just as dangerous as those posed by climate change – and our farm system is in large part to blame. The study showed that that rapid expansion and unsustainable management of croplands and grazing lands is a direct cause of land degradation which causes huge damage to nature and the ‘services’ people rely on nature for, such as food security, water purification, energy provision.

– Another recent study revealed the extent of the decline of French bird populations on farms – with numbers falling by a third in 15 years.

For more information:

Emily Macintosh, EEB Communications Officer

+32 (0) 2 274 10 86

Next EU budget can usher in end of harmful farming era
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