ARC Newsflash May 2012

Dear friends and supporters of ARC

As summer fast approaches, things are really hotting up in the ARC2020 Office. On May 30th we released the GOOD FOOD MARCH – CALL FOR ACTION in 10 languages!! The Good Food March will kick off this August, seeing people from across Europe travel to Brussels – by bike, tractor or any other means – to demand a real reform of the CAP. Participants will arrive in Brussels in time for a conference being organised by Slow Food and ARC2020 on Septemeber 19th.  If that wasn’t enough, our first Speakers Tour is also about to set off. From June 19th to June 30th, 3 farmes from 3 continents – USA, Africa and Europe – will travel to different locations to discuss the global implications of the CAP. A key part of the tour will be a public debate on June 20th in Brussels – details to follow.

Elsewhere in the network, May saw the launch of the new website. Coinciding with the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the site makes the IAASTD’s findings available by topic and offers updated figures on global agriculture. This month ARC2020 signatories IFOAM EU Group, Friends of the Earth Europe and the European Public Health and Agriculture Consortium, along with a number of other NGOs, issued a letter calling for more transparency in the EU CAP decision-making process. Whilst Arche Noah, ECVC, EEB, IFOAM EU Group and the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity released a letter urging EU law-makers to come up with an environment, farmer and consumer friendly review of the legislation on the marketing of Seed and Propagating Material.

And finally, the petition released by our friends at Slow Food Youth Group continues to gain support. If your organisation is interested in endorsing the petition, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Summer greetings,
Kate Mann

P.S. if you haven’t already, don’t forget to like our facebook page!

Last month in Brussels

On May 8th, the Agriculture Committee approved rules for granting EU-funded direct payments for the calendar year 2013 to ensure continuity in payment for farmers until the new CAP is approved. On 14th and 15th May, the Agricultural and Fisheries Council met in Brussels. A public debate was held on the specific issue of the greening within the framework of the CAP reform. Before the meeting took place, a leaked paper revealed that a number of Member States are pushing for greater flexibility in implementing greening measures (see the full update opposite). Further controversy arose this month following an announcement that, due to high hotel costs, the European Parliament will not be sending delegates to Rio+20 for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. However, there was also good news –  the EU Commission has now confirmed details for the follow up conference to the civil society debate that was held two years ago. This second event will take place on July 13th. And finally, on May 30th – 31st, the Agriculture Committee met again in Brussels. The meeting included a presentation of a study on “How to improve the sustainable competitiveness and innovation of the agricultural sector“.

Find out about all the latest developments in Brussels here

May Agriculture and Fisheries Council

On 14th and 15th May, the Agricultural and Fisheries Council met in Brussels. A public debate was held on the specific issue of the greening within the framework of the CAP reform.

Upon the initiative of Luxembourg, followed by the UK, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and a number of other countries, delegations discussed the so-called menu approach to greening measures, meaning that Member States would be able to chose à la carte between different farming practices which would be adapted to the regions and countries concerned.

Many delegations had urged the Commission to “ease” the greening requirements, arguing mainly against bureaucratic controls (“red tape”), which would be needed to implement more environmentally-friendly farming practices such as crop diversification or crop rotation. Find a full ARC report and read about the reaction from the EU Commissioner here

Find more details on the discussions here

Upcoming EU events 

03 – 05.06.2012
Informal meeting of Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries


Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Find all events here


Jim Kleinschmidt – Rural Communities Program Director at the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA

“The US Farm Bill, despite representing a relatively small percentage of total US budget is seen as a ripe area to cut spending, so the discussion is largely focused on cuts to programs and funding. I would expect there are similar financial concerns occurring in the CAP discussions in the EU as well.”

See the full interview here