Political hotspot September 2021 newsletter

As the final vote on the deal is looming, and Member States are preparing their CAP national Strategic Plans, the new CAP will be under intense scrutiny in the next weeks. And rightly so, as the agreement leaves Member States a lot of flexibility on their level of ambition to use the huge CAP budget either to really transition to agroecology, or to defend vested interests and business as usual.

Proposed by the Commission in 2018, before the adoption of the Green Deal as the new “guiding light” of EU policy, the CAP Strategic Plans Regulation was hardly improved by the European Parliament negotiating team. Under Peter Jahre’s leadership the Parliament’s negotiations team was quick to back down to the Council’s unwillingness to explicitly link the CAP to the Farm to Fork (F2F) and Biodiversity strategies’ targets. So, the new CAP Regulations do not have enough measures that could safeguard meaningful changes for climate and biodiversity.

The Guardian recently revealed that “20 meat and dairy firms emit more greenhouse gas than Germany, Britain or France”. Yet the new CAP Regulations will not prevent Member States from giving harmful subsidies to intensive farming.

This is why many NGOs are calling on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to vote this CAP down during November’s Plenary vote. While IFOAM Organics Europe shares such criticisms and believes this new CAP is not ambitious enough, our Interest Group of Organic Farmers and Board decided there was no point for the organic movement to call on MEPs to reject this CAP. The problem is less the Commission’s proposal itself than the defence of the status quo by national governments.

The real battle to make the CAP contribute to the Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) is already taking place now national governments are drafting their CAP national Strategic Plans. Our members are active in all EU countries to ensure the CAP will contribute to the development of organic farming at national level, but they are not always listened too.

On the other side, conventional farmers organisations attack the F2F Strategy and its targets, trying to weaken Commissioner Wojciechowski’s position. They showcase organic farming as a type of agriculture that would not produce enough yields compared to conventional farming and that would make Europe less competitive in terms of agricultural products prices and trade balance. Conventional farmers organisations do not consider organic farming’s benefits on the environment, animal welfare and social aspects, as highlighted in our last report on biodiversity.

What will make a difference (or not) is the political will of the European Commission to defend the Green Deal when it approving the CAP national Strategic Plans during the first semester of 2022.

Are you advocating on a national CAP Strategic Plan? Have a look at our publication  ‘Organic in Europe – Prospects and developments for organic in national CAP Strategic Plans’. This document highlights potential targets for organic land at the national level, and how much of the national CAP budgets would need to be dedicated to organic farming in all Member States to reach these national targets and the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies’ average target of 25% organic land by 2030. 

IFOAM Organics Europe will continue to inform its members regarding the development of this CAP reform. For more information on the CAP and IFOAM Organics Europe’s work on this issue, please contact [email protected]. Please do note that we prioritise our members’ requests.

Our members can also consult our arguments database on the member extranet for background materials on topic (main messages, arguments/FAQs, visuals & videos).

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