Political hotspot October 2020 newsletter

On 1920 October, EU-27 agriculture ministers met in Luxembourg to adopt their general approach on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). During the same week, Members of the European parliament (MEPs) voted the three pieces of legislation – strategic plans, horizontal and common market organization – during an online plenary. On both sides, results are particularly disappointing on the environmental aspects and will not lead to a system change that the organic movement is urging for.

After months of tough exchanges, EU agriculture ministers finalized their positions on the reform package, based on the German Presidency’s proposal. Ministers chose not to mention the EU Green Deal nor the Farm to Fork targets in the text and secured a lot of flexibility on key aspects such as redistributive payments, capping or conditionality. 20% of the first pillar’s budget is dedicated to Eco-schemes, with a non-binding “learning phase” of two years (2023-2024) during which funds not allocated will be redistributed via other channels. Member States would be free to choose the content of their Eco-schemes, based on their own self-described circumstances. The Council also would like to include Areas with Natural Constraints (ANCs) in the environmental and climate ringfencing (30%) which would take a huge part of second pillar’s decreasing budget. This would decrease money available for organic, and agroecological transition in the rural development pillar.

In Brussels, the European Parliament also put the CAP to vote during an online plenary. A few good amendments went through, such as the obligation for Member States to analyse their organic sector, assess the situation and level of support needed for its growth, and the inclusion of a new article on social conditionality. Parliamentarians also chose to ringfence 30% of pillar one to Eco-schemes but did not decide about eligible practices and asked the Commission to propose a list in the form of a delegated act. MEPs also included 40% of the budget for ANCs into the second pillar’s 30% environmental ringfencing . And while the Parliament refused to explicitly include the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies in targets, a few positive amendments were nonetheless adopted to take these into account in the assessment of national strategic plans.

The trilogues between the three institutions are supposed to last from November to April 2021, but may be slowed down because of Covid-19. IFOAM Organics Europe will continue to support all initiatives by the Commission to better integrate the EU Green Deal into the CAP, and we will make sure the organic voice is heard during the negotiations between the three institutions.

Please contact [email protected] for questions on the CAP. Do note that we prioritise our members’ requests.

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