The EU Green Deal immediately eroded by the industrial agriculture lobby?
EUROPARC’s President Ignace Schops responds to the vote on the Common Agricultural Policy
Last week, the European Parliament voted the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2021-2027. The result contrasts sharply with the objectives of the EU Green Deal of European President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Vice President Frans Timmermans.
Is this about a sustainable and socially responsible food supply or about a well-organised hold-up by the large industrial agri-companies, that seem to show little concern for the health of our planet?
The EU Commission’s initial proposal was quite defensible because it was –in some ways- more in line with the objectives of the EU Green Deal, even if it had been proposed by the previous Commission. Some European Parliament amendments were trying to improve it and makes it more coherent with the Farm to Fork Strategy.
The EU’s “From farm to fork” strategy promotes short-chain agriculture, aims at socially correct, sustainable reform with much more focus on nature and climate. The EUROPARC Federation, is very supportive of farm to fork strategy with the necessity for farms in and around Protected Areas to work in a more constructive partnership.
But what happened? A majority coalition of MEPs rejected the amendments that would bring about closer alignment to the Green Deal, potentially undermining all progress. This was the same parliament that voted the Green Deal, approved the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and supported the progress in making an EU climate law!
Poisoning the CAP is not only a lethal injection for the health of our planet, agro-industry is also paid generously for it. Agriculture accounts for 40% of the total European budget. That is a great deal of money. 80% of this budget goes to the large agro-industrial companies which represent only 20% of European farmers. It becomes clearer when you turn the argument around. 80% of European farmers have to survive on just 20% of the already poisoned budget.
On the heels of many thousands of farmers, industrial agro-agriculture can continue with the natural and environmental conditions that give agriculture a future just to die. This decision is not for, but above all, against the well-meaning farmers with responsible craftsmanship. Those who do have an eye for bees, butterflies and birds and who want to help and build a sustainable, climate-proof and nature-friendly food supply.
Ladies and gentlemen of the EU Parliament: please inform yourselves, do not just listen to the agro-industry lobbyists. Do not be tempted by fake facts. The industrial farming lobby is pleased, they say this decision gives clarity to the farmers. What clarity? and to which farmers? Financial clarity for just a few or deadly clarity for the health of our planet?
So, EUROPARC calls upon farmers to unite with nature and climate movement! We are natural allies! Things can and must be done differently if we are to have farming that is good for people and nature!