Out of touch farm ministers miss Europe’s climate memo

Ahead of a ministerial discussion on the future of the EU’s agricultural policy tomorrow, European farm ministers have shown total disregard [1] for the urgent need to reform intensive farming so it doesn’t exacerbate climate change.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) criticised the farm ministers for continuing to back pubic spending for the type of intensive agriculture that ramps up production, exacerbating climate change and leaving environmental ambition to goodwill. [2]

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe’s largest network of environmental citizens’ organisations with around 150 organisations in more than 30 countries.

Intensive meat and dairy production are responsible for a huge share of the 10% of EU greenhouse gas emissions that come from the agriculture sector, and agriculture emissions are on the rise again.

Bérénice Dupeux, Agriculture Policy Officer at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:

“The European elections showed us that political parties of all stripes are now calling for greater European action on climate and environmental issues in response to the public demand for a green overhaul of how our society works. But farm ministers seem to exist in a parallel universe. As crisis after crisis hits the farm sector, this should be a warning sign that our food system needs remodelling. It’s time to significantly reduce meat and dairy production to reduce overall emissions – just as many other industries are doing, and public money invested for climate action on farms must result in actual reductions in emissions.”


[1] In the drafting suggestion prepared by the Romanian presidency and analysed by the European Environmental Bureau (doc 10103/19), Member States seem to agree to:

  • Weaken environmental standards’ requirements to receive public money (conditionality).
  • Choose to evaluate their climate performance in part by looking at how many animals (livestock unit) receive payments. This is nonsensical given that we know that we should decrease the overall number of animals raised in the EU, if we want to tackle climate change.
  • Leave eco-schemes to ‘goodwill’.
  • ’All carrot, no stick’: Member States would be free to design their national CAP plan without proper checks on how they spend the money they receive. While in theory there would be penalties for bad performance, the indicators used to assess the performance are barely there.

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/sites/agriculture/files/evaluation/market-and-income-reports/2019/cap-and-climate-evaluation-report_en.pdf

For more information:

Emily Macintosh, EEB Communications Officer


+32 2 274 10 86

Out of touch farm ministers miss Europe’s climate memo
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