This Friday, the European Parliament ministers will finalize a series of votes that will shape the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP). Over the week Parliament has labeled the business as good for farmers and natures, but they couldn't be further from the truth on either point.
At the start of the week, the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, changed, without warning or reason, the date on which Parliament should vote on a nature conservation agreement put together by the three largest groups, the Socialists, Renew and the EPP. Birdlife called the joint proposal "the kiss of death" for nature. The scandalous maneuver of unexpectedly and last minute pushing the vote by a full day meant that MPs had no time to fulfill their democratic duty. Scientists condemned this greenwashed deal as worse than business as usual.
A majority of MEPs also voted against an emissions reduction target for agriculture of 30% by 2027. They also voted against the inclusion of the EU Green Deal targets in the CAP. Scientists have stated that agricultural emissions must be cut by 80% by 2050 for Europe to meet its emissions reduction target (1). The results could spell the end of the EU's ambitious Green Deal, which urgently needs radical CAP reform to be successful.
Shockingly, the socialists 'and democrats' vision for the Green Deal promises “to reform the EU's common agricultural policy (…) into key climate and sustainability instruments in order to make them fully compatible with renewed climate and environmental ambitions. (2) Even so, you voted for the exact opposite.
Tomorrow MEPs will have one last chance to reject this CAP proposal entirely. The environmental activist Greta Thunberg even got involved and described the proposal as “the finest greenwashing”. The MEPs who vote for this proposal will "be responsible for surrendering to our future".
The German MEP Peter Jahr, who heads the CAP proposal himself, received CAP subsidies of over EUR 111,000 last year. In fact, 80% of the CAP currently goes to the richest 20% of farmers. (3)
Currently, almost € 60 billion in EU taxpayers' money is spent each year on CAP subsidies, which mainly finance intensive agriculture and factory farming. The model of intensive agriculture that he is promoting leads directly to the loss of biological diversity, pollution of water and air, over-abstraction of water and contributes to the climate crisis.
Numerous studies and over 3600 scientists show that the intensive agriculture promoted by the CAP is causing many species to become extinct (4). Since 1980, the EU has lost 57% of its farmland birds. Butterflies, bees and flying insects are also falling sharply.
Harriet Bradley, EU Representative for Agriculture Policy, BirdLife Europe:
The MPs have a choice. You can take the death of nature and our planet seriously, or you can slavishly obey large agricultural lobbies and support oligarchs. Members of the European Parliament, especially members of socialist, democratic and renewed groups who have promised action to address climate and biodiversity emergencies, must not be so irresponsible. At a time when decision-makers tell us that they are increasingly listening to science, MEPs are choosing instead, hand over ears, to fund the extinction of nature.
For further information please contact:
Honey Kohan, BirdLife Europe Media Officer
+32 483 55 95 43
Harriet Bradley, EU Representative for Agriculture Policy, Birdlife Europe
+32 466 47 49 84
Notes for editors:
(1) IEEP Publication: Net Zero Agriculture in 2050: How to Get There?
(2) Socialists and Democrats commit to reform the CAP
(3) New York Times investigation – The Money Farmers: How Oligarchs and Populists the E.U. for millions
(4) Several studies have shown that the intensive farming model promoted by the CAP is causing many species to become extinct:
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is a partnership of 48 national conservation organizations and a leader in bird conservation. Our unique local to global approach enables us to achieve high impact and long-term protection for the benefit of nature and people. BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is one of the six regional secretariats that make up BirdLife International. The Brussels-based company supports the European and Central Asian partnership and is represented in 47 countries, including all EU member states. With more than 4,100 employees in Europe, two million members and tens of thousands of qualified volunteers, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, together with its national partners, owns or manages more than 6,000 natural areas with a total area of 320,000 hectares.