Common Agriculture Policy reform could transform the European countryside and help preserve nature and stop extinctions
Ecological farming leaves room for wildlife
Today, the Environent Committee (ENVI) of the European Parliament voted on the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy. MEPs favour a much greener CAP reform than proposed by the European Commission, says ENVI committee member Bas Eickhout, leading candidate of the European Greens for the European elections:
"Today the MEPs showed in which direction CAP reform should go. The vote shows that another agriculture policy is possible. We want a Common Agriculture Policy that rewards farmers who contribute to the future of our society and our planet by enhancing biodiversity, creating rich and diverse landscapes, and tackling climate change. We clearly said no to a CAP that blindly pays for hectares, drives intensification, and leads to environmental destruction.
"We urge the MEPs in the Agriculture Committee to take this vote into account when they will vote on CAP reform and not to give in to the wishes of big agroindustry. The Common Agriculture Policy should benefit all citizens; not the big industrial producers."
Elements of ENVI opinion on CAP reform:
The objectives that Member States have to achieve through the implementation of their CAP strategic plans have been significantly strengthened and elaborated:
- Production of renewable energy (biofuels) is no longer an objective;
- Additional focus on soil quality;
- Reducing pesticides;
- Halting biodiversity loss;
- Stimulating High Nature Value farming.
Improved and additional indicators to measure whether objectives are being achieved:
- Additional categories such as on building topsoil, producing more locally, reducing pesticide, livestock density, etc.
- Better ways of measuring: soil biota abundance, creation of a pollinator index, volume of pesticides sold, etc.
Stricter and enhanced conditionality that will apply to all farmers:
- A maximum on stocking density;
- All relevant animal welfare legislation;
- Safeguard to maintain permanent grassland;
- No ploughing permanent grassland;
- 7% of agricultural area devoted to non-productive features;
- 4 years crop rotation including leguminous crops;
- No pesticides in buffer strips + 3m minimum width.
Ring-fencing of money for climate and the environment:
- In the Commission proposal: 30% for environmental purposes under rural development, 0% for eco-schemes (up to Member States to decide);
- ENVI at least 40% for environmental purposes under rural development, at least 30% for eco-schemes, and special ring-fencing for biodiversity;
- No more tax payers money being used for the promotion of wine and meat.