CAP reform

The Greens/EFA group stays on course until the final votes

This month the CAP reform is back to plenary in the European Parliament. Key debates and votes on legislative proposals following the trilogues (interinstitutional negotiations) (15 in total!) will take place this Wednesday 20th November in Strasbourg. Some of the more positive outcomes include new rules on direct payments to farmers (currently 85% of CAP funds goes on direct payments). These new rules will make greening measures mandatory, will introduce provisions for Ecological Focus Areas as well as the possibility of redistributive payments/top-ups as a means to support smaller farms. Regarding the agricultural market regulation, which is supposed to guarantee fair revenues to farmers through price intervention measures and supply management, the Greens/EFA managed in particular to include certain criteria on food quality, public health and sustainability in school fruit and milk schemes. However, the major flaws in the reform remain. The Greens/EFA group’s proposal on setting a ceiling of €100,000 for payments to the large farms has been lost. The battle for mandatory crop rotation including leguminous crops - which would have been a multifaceted response to most challenges facing the agricultural sector, was substantially watered down into simply some weak wording on crop diversification. Besides, there has not been any substantial progress on how to equitably divide up the direct payments between production sectors (cereals, milk farmers etc.), regions and Member States. Furthermore, the new flexibility which will allow funds to be shifted from rural development[1] to direct payments is clearly weakening moves to shift to more sustainable, agro-ecological farming systems. Finally, export subsidies will most probably be maintained and will continue to weaken the food economies of developing countries. The Greens/EFA group has repeatedly called for a truly green and fair reform of the CAP. The result of the votes of 20 November will have a huge impact on our future food supply system, on the choices we make concerning populations in southern countries and on the preservation of our planet against climate change for future generations. For this crucial vote, the Greens/EFA group will keep trying to drive home the same position. Their vote will reflect the wish for a CAP that respects farmers and consumers. It will call for the end of the vicious circle of our food system which is led by factory farming and works against the logic of nature.
[1] As opposed to Pillar I of the CAP, whose purpose is to provide direct income to support farmers (direct payments), Pillar II supports the activity of a range of  different rural actors, such as enterprises and Local Development Groups.

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