One step closer to much-needed scrutiny of EU farm policy

The EEB’s proposal for an in-depth review of EU farm policy has been given the stamp of approval today by a key European Commission advisory group.

The Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) platform, a group made up of representatives from business, social partners and civil society, has recommended [1] that the European Commission carry out a Fitness Check of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Faustine Bas-Defossez, European Environmental Bureau (EEB) Policy Manager for Agriculture and Bioenergy, said:

We very much welcome this advice which should be taken seriously by the Commission. It is high time indeed that we have an open and inclusive debate on whether EU farm policy is fit for purpose.” [2] 

Member States must now get on board with the growing number of calls [3] for a CAP Fitness Check. With 58 billion euros of taxpayers’ money being spent on the policy every year and growing concerns over the legitimacy of this policy, it is only right that citizens know exactly how their money is being spent.”

A CAP Fitness Check would be the necessary first step towards a new evidence-based food and farming policy that gives EU citizens access to healthy soils, water, air and, obviously, food, and rewards farmers for their work, not for ever more intensive farming practices which are detrimental to nature and public health.”

Notes to editors:

[1] > The opinion on the CAP Fitness Check will form part of the REFIT Platform’s advice to the Commission for its 2017 Work Programme. While this advice is indicative, it is likely that the response to all REFIT Platform recommendations will appear as an annex when the 2017 Commission Work Programme is published.
> The REFIT Platform was established by the European Commission in 2015 under its better regulation agenda. Its main task is to seek stakeholder suggestions on how to improve EU legislation and to provide advice to the Commission regarding those suggestions.
> The RSPB and Friends of the Earth Europe are the two organisations which represent the environmental interest on the REFIT platform.

[2] > The Cork 2.0 Declaration 2016 states that “policies must be accountable and fit for purpose”.

[3] > 115 environmental, social, and health NGOs, a group of leading food experts, and 16 MEPs have called on the European Commission to conduct a major review of the CAP through a Fitness Check.
> The purpose of a Fitness Check, as defined by the European Commission’s Better Regulation Guidelines, is to review whether the policy framework for a given sector is ‘fit for purpose’ by assessing its performance with respect to its policy objectives.