Safeguarding biodiversity on farms: Commission must probe member states over policy choices

credit: Mark Hamblin

The European Commission must disclose information on what member states are doing to protect biodiversity on farms.

In a letter sent today[1], NGOs have called on Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan to carry out a study investigating how biodiversity is affected by member states’ choices and management of certain crops – such as nitrogen-fixing crops.[2]

Agriculture can be part of the solution to biodiversity protection and enhancement as good biodiversity is critical for food security – this is why the Commission must investigate what choices member states have made and the resulting impact.

Faustine Defossez, EEB Senior Policy Officer on Agriculture and Bioenergy, said:

Agriculture is the main culprit when it comes to the drivers of biodiversity decline, and at the same time this decline hits the farming sector hardest, for example, through a decline in pollination from bees. Member states need to be taken to task on how well they are keeping to biodiversity commitments. They can’t just replace biodiversity safeguards by crops that are not proven to deliver for nature and wildlife – and even worse allow pesticides to be sprayed on them – the Commission must still make sure EFAs are a reality on Europe’s farms and not a forgotten idea.”

Leonardo Mazza, EEB Senior Policy Officer for Biodiversity, Water & Soil Protection, added:

Biodiversity is under threat on several fronts. Not only is the sector which causes the most damage being allowed to carry on as before, causing the collapse of farmland biodiversity, the Commission is also evaluating the need to “modernise” two vital pieces of EU legislation which protect plants, habitats, and species in Europe [2]. It is high time that we fully recognise the value of biodiversity and ensure all relevant EU policy areas respect it and truly contribute to its protection.”


For further information please contact:

Faustine Defossez, EEB Senior Policy Officer for Agriculture and Bioenergy  +32 (0) 487 244 270

Leonardo Mazza, EEB Senior Policy Officer for Biodiversity, Water & Soil Protection  +32 (0) 2 289 10 93

Emily Macintosh, EEB Communications Officer for Nature Protection and Agriculture +32 (0) 2 274 10 86

Notes to editors:

[1] EEB, Arche Noah, BirdLife Europe, EFNCP, PAN Europe, Slow Food, IFOAM EU Group, and Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) sent a letter to Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.
Read the letter

[2] Plans for every farm to set aside special biodiversity-protection zones – dubbed Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) – were watered down during political negotiations on the EU’s farming laws (the Common Agricultural Policy – CAP). Member states are now free to choose whether they impose biodiversity-safeguards on farms or allow farmers to use crops that could be damaging to nature.

[3] The Birds and Habitats Directives are being reviewed as part of a European Commission Fitness Check. In response, the EEB, Birdlife Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, and WWF have launched the Nature Alert campaign – an online tool which allows citizens to take part in the Commission’s public consultation on the Directives.
Find out more about the campaign:

For more information:

Emily Macintosh, Communications Officer - Nature and Agriculture

+32 2 274 10 86

Safeguarding biodiversity on farms: Commission must probe member states over policy choices
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