CAP Cuts E1 Billion From Environmentally Friendly Farming

Despite failing to meet its environmental targets, the EU has cut funding for ecologically friendly farming measures by a billion Euros.

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That’s according to new analysis by two Brussels-based organisations, the European Environmental Bureau – a federation encompassing over 150 organisations – and Birdlife Europe.

These findings, based on research into the published Rural Development Plans of 19 EU countries and regions, including Ireland, were presented Monday 8th February in Brussels. They compare the current Common Agricultural Policy – 2014 to 2020 – to the previous one – 2007 to 2013.

14 of the 19 Member States or Regions have reduced their spending on agri-environmental measures, the organisations claim. Moreover “the quality of the measures was overstated in 79% of the cases we looked at” according to Trees Robijns of BirdLife Europe.

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A factsheet issued by both organisations on Monday elaborates. More than 1/3 of ecosystems spending goes on basic income support “despite the fact that no environmental conditions are attached to these”, it claimed. It also stated that only 17% of EU land will be under contracts that “meaningfully contribute to the EU’s Biodiversity strategy”.

Ireland does not perform well.The state of the Irish environment was described as “alarming” with 100% of extensive grasslands in unfavourable conditions – well above the EU average of 83%.

While “73% of total public budget in Ireland has been allocated to measures that should directly benefit biodiversity, water and soil”, almost half of this actually goes to “basic income support instruments without any environmental conditions attached to it” the factsheet finds.

The analysis distinguished between generic and specific environmental measures, or what it calls light green and dark green measures. Dark green measures target specific species, habitats or known biodiversity problems, such as the lack of pollinator strips.

paper vs. practice pie

Just 1/3 of the 2014-2020 agri-environment budget for Ireland will be spent on these ‘dark green’ measures.

Ireland also sees a massive 40% drop in the agri-environment spending for the 2014-2020 period, when compared to 2007-2013.

“Only 14% of farmland in Ireland will be under contracts that directly address the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy” according to the factsheet.

Recommendations for Ireland included a more targeted approach to wild and farm bird schemes, along with better support for targeted schemes already in place.

“If Member States want to be serious about their biodiversity commitments in farmland, they need to urgently put more money into the measures that actually deliver, whilst changing those that are currently just money for nothing” Trees Robijns concluded.

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Having failed in its stated aim of halting biodiversity loss by 2010, overall EU performance has not improved.

While specific, targeted interventions have shown some successes, in January the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, was “crystal clear” in pointing out that “without substantial additional efforts, the EU will in 2020 again fail to achieve its agreed targets. The figures speak for themselves. The EU-28’s ecological footprint is twice as large as Europe’s biocapacity. Barely 23% of species and 16% of habitats have a favourable status”. European farmland bird populations have decreased by over 50% since 1980.

Oliver Moore
About Oliver Moore 185 Articles
DR. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activité professionnelle. Il peut néanmoins admirer par la fenêtre de son bureau les mésanges charbonnières et les corbeaux perchés au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cœur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisés, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant à la communauté. Les jours où il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sèches et les jardins familiaux.  Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant également des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »).  Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne également des cours sur le Master en coopératives, agroalimentaire et développement durable à l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large. Il consacre la majorité de son temps de travail à l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date à laquelle l’Irlande a assuré la présidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est là qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grâce à sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. Après six mois, il est nommé rédacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des médias sociaux, aide à définir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois même rédige un article pour le site web.  À l’époque où on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, où il a aidé des ONG irlandaises de commerce équitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – à raconter leur histoire.  Il se peut que ces jours-là reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de préférer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Après tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilités de bénévolat dans la communauté dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.