The European Parliament is expected to give its final green light on Tuesday to the new CAP, which is designed to “green up” EU agriculture policies, despite opposition from the Greens and some on the left who denounce “green-washing”. Taking to Twitter, the ‘Rebellious French Delegation to the European Parliament’ said: “The reform of the CAP which will be voted in the European Parliament is a disaster!”
It added: “We reject this reform as a disgrace to the climate emergency and a betrayal of citizens and farmers.”
After months of difficult talks, negotiators agreed on the new Common Agricultural Policy, which will apply from January 2023.
It has a budget of €387billion until 2027 – almost a third of the EU’s multiannual budget – of which €270billion is direct aid to farmers.
France remains the main beneficiary country.
The policy focuses on nine specific objectives, linked to common EU goals for social, environmental, and economic sustainability in agriculture and rural areas.
However, European farmers fear the changes will destroy their livelihoods, and affect environmental policies.
The same group that Tweeted the policy would be a disaster said: “Destructive for the climate, biodiversity and the agricultural world, the CAP reform signs the death warrant of organic farming in the EU.”
It went on to say: “The elected members of our delegation took part this morning in its burial, in front of the European Parliament.”
Speaking of the reform, it said: “This reform will lock us into the current agricultural system, which is a dead-end in terms of climate, environment, social issues and animal suffering.”
Claiming it is time to reconsider the plan it said: “It must be rethought to finally have a CAP that meets urgent needs.”
The reform will provide for premiums to be paid to farmers who participate in more demanding environmental programmes, use more environmentally friendly techniques or help improve animal welfare.
States will have to devote an average of 25 percent per year of direct payments to these “eco-regimes” between 2023 and 2027, with the possibility of devoting only 20 percent in the first two years.
They will have to allocate at least 35 percent of the rural development budget to the environment and climate-related measures.
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By the end of 2021, each state must prepare a “strategic plan” detailing its use of EU funds.
Brussels will have to verify the conformity of these national agricultural policies with the objectives of reducing greenhouse gases (Green Pact) and reducing pesticides by 50 percent by 2030, with a quarter of the land reserved for organic farming.
However, this alignment is not binding enough for environmental NGOs.
In a tweet posted on Friday, climate activist Greta Thunberg also called the CAP “disastrous for the climate and the environment,” and “not in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement,” which sets the goal of limiting warming to “well below” 2°C and if possible 1.5°C.
After Tuesday’s vote, the CAP will still have to be formally approved by the Member States.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega