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CAP and Biodiversity | Wake-Up Call For Green Deal Commission?

Last week’s damning report on CAP and biodiversity was a wake-up call. But will the Green Deal Commission go back to sleep? The European Court of Auditors insists CAP must deliver more in the 2030 biodiversity strategy. Civil society organizations are now watching closely to see the Commission doesn’t hit snooze and sink back into business as usual. Louise Kelleher takes us through the reactions. […]

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CAP | Billions Spent on Biodiversity with Little Impact – Auditors

The EU has funnelled €66 billion into farmland biodiversity since 2014 – and has little to show for it. That’s the conclusion of a special report released on Friday by the European Court of Auditors. The auditors slammed the half-baked targets of the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy, its odd-couple relationship with CAP, lack of monitoring, and some very un-smart spending by the European Commission. A series of recommendations have been made. Louise Kelleher reports. […]

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Letter From The Farm | A Conscientious Objector to the Meat Industry

Meet Josef, a Czech livestock farmer who is a conscientious objector to the meat industry. For ethical reasons he slaughters his animals on farm and sells the meat locally to friends and neighbours. On-farm slaughter is not legally possible for small farmers in the Czech Republic, where the only ways to kill a cow are via big processors, investing in your own on-farm facility – which is prohibitively expensive – or live exports. In order to speak freely about his activities, Josef (not his real name) chose to remain anonymous for this conversation with Louise Kelleher. […]

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Czech Republic | Keeping Farming & Food in the Family

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, our creaking food systems have triggered a crisis within a crisis. Covid-19 has sounded the alarm on the planet’s unsustainable agricultural systems. Small-scale farms are vital links in the resilient local supply chains we need to build. But in the Czech Republic small farmers face challenges, and a six-week closure of farmers markets has hit hard. Louise Kelleher reports. […]

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IPES-Food on Covid-19: Protect the Vulnerable, Build Resilience, Stay Vigilant

The Covid-19 pandemic has put our food systems to the test, exposing the vulnerabilities of an unsustainable status quo. In a communiqué released on Tuesday, IPES-Food slams shortsighted solutions to the crisis. Calling for a paradigm shift to agroecological farming, it says now is the time to transform the seeds of change into the foundations of a resilient new food system. Industrial food systems are being peddled as solutions when in fact they are the problem. Louise Kelleher reports. […]

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Winning the Battle with the Agri-Giant Next Door

Czech organic farmer Libor Kožnar has won his yearlong battle with Agrofert, the agribusiness empire operating next to his small holding. He lost the organic certification for his wheat due to fertiliser drift from an Agrofert sprayer. Agrofert is a multimillion euro conglomerate with ties to the Czech prime minister, currently under investigation in a conflict of interest case by the European Commission. […]

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Poking Holes in Farm to Fork: Environmental Groups Seek a Coherent Vision

Healthy ecosystems are the foundation for food production, but they are pushed to breaking point by the current system. In the face of existential threats, Farm to Fork needs a coherent vision. Friends of the Earth Europe, WWF, Birdlife Europe, Greenpeace, ClientEarth and Pesticides Action Network weigh in on the European Commission’s Roadmap to food sustainability. […]

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Commission’s Dodgy Calculations Improve CAP’s Climate Impact

The “Green Deal” Commission promises big spending on climate. If climate markers are to be believed, the current CAP accounts for 22% of the EU’s climate spending. The post-2020 CAP is poised to take even more climate credit. But the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) claims the Commission’s climate markers miss the mark. In a report released earlier this month the IEEP sounds the alarm on faulty climate accounting and greenwashing of direct payments. […]

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Trouble With The Neighbours: Living Next Door to an Agri-Giant

How do you get an organic farm off the ground with an agri-giant operating in the neighbouring field? Coming back to the land after a high flying career in New York City, Libor Kožnar expected the first year to be the hardest. What he didn’t expect was to find himself in a legal dispute with Agrofert, the sprawling agribusiness empire founded by the Czech prime minister. […]

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Bad Czechs and Balances: Commission Audit Confirms Czech PM in Conflict of Interest

In a glaring failure for checks and balances, a leaked European Commission audit concludes that Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš continues to profit from his business empire. The billionaire premier is in conflict of interest under both Czech and EU law, say the EC auditors. The EU seems set on making an example of the Czech PM. Will this mean a clampdown on corruption in Central Europe? […]