CAP ‘reform’: Parliament’s small steps not good enough for a green transformation of food and farming
BRUSSELS, 23 OCTOBER 2020 – This week, Members of the European Parliament voted on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and Agriculture Ministers reached an agreement in the Council, opening the possibility to start trilogue negotiations. According to the organic food and farming movement, Europe’s elected representatives disregarded citizens’ demands for a true transformation of food and farming, and failed to fully align the CAP with the European Green Deal, Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies’ objectives.
Jan Plagge, President of IFOAM Organics Europe expresses his disappointment: “Small steps to green the CAP are not sufficient. The next ten years should be a decade of action and transformation to win the race against a climate and biodiversity catastrophe. Now, the Commission has a huge responsibility to ensure that EU money will be put to good use by Member States and that national CAP Strategic Plans will be up to the challenges of the biodiversity and climate crises. The organic movement will continue to support all initiatives to bring the CAP in line with the EU Green Deal, Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies in the upcoming negotiations.”
Plagge continued: “As the impacts of climate change are already upon us, resilient food production needs well-functioning ecosystems, healthy soils, clean water and more biodiversity at all levels. The vast majority of farmers wants to do more for the environment, but they need to be properly incentivised and supported by the CAP to change their farming systems and practices. The EU Green Deal is what European citizens expect from Europe, but it is also an opportunity for farmers and rural areas.”
Kurt Sannen, Chair of IFOAM Organics Europe’s Interest Group of Organic Farmers added that “A huge majority of MEPs (589 in favour vs 94 against) voted in favour of amendment 811, requiring Member States to include an analysis of the organic sector as part of their Strategic Plan, and set up objectives to increase the share of organically managed land. That is a positive step in line with the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies, but to transform our food systems we need a CAP that better incentivises and help all farmers to adopt more sustainable practices”.
Positive and negative amendments for the European organic movement, voted by the European Parliament on the CAP.
- Obligation for Member States to do an analysis of their organic sector, assess the situation and level of support needed for its growth (AM 811)
- 30% ringfencing for Eco-schemes
- New article on social conditionality (AM 732)
- Agroforestry systems added in the definitions (AM 89)
- Member States should provide independent services for advising farmers with 30% dedicated to environmental objectives (AM 1129)
- When approving the Strategic Plans, the Commission should check the compatibility with Green Deal & climate legislation (AM 987-988)
- Rejection of including any references to Biodiversity Strategy, Farm to Fork strategy, Climate law in the objectives (AM 878-883)
- Rejection of the obligation for Member States to set national targets on the impact indicators related to the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategy targets (AM 971-1313)
- Rejection of the obligation to increase payments towards organic conversion and maintenance compared to those made before 2021, calculated as yearly average (AM 832)
- Weakening of the article on Eco-schemes, adding “economic criteria” and equivalences between Eco-schemes and parts of conditionality – GAECs 1,8,9,10 (AM 1128)
- Mention of Paris Agreement but rejection of the ambition of the CAP to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the agricultural and food sector in the Union by 30% by 2027 (AM 808).
- 60% of P1 ringfenced for direct payments and 40% of Areas with Natural Constraints in second pillar ringfencing (AM 1135)