Don’t Dismantle CAP’s Green Rules say 330 European Organisations

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“The Commission is about to dismantle conditionality requirements that are based on unequivocal scientific evidence, and which it has explicitly acknowledged as being essential tools to address current climate, environmental, and biodiversity issues.”

That’s according to a letter initiated by  Spanish Coalition Por Otra PAC to the European Commission, published today 6th March. The letter is signed by 61 European coalitions and civil society organisations, who in turn represent more than more than 330 organisations from all over Europe. All are “deeply concerned” over European Political Institution’s latest measures and announcements to rapidly railroad changes in CAP’s green architecture. They urge the Commission to “reconsider the loosening” of this architecture. 

Read/download Joint letter to the EU Commission to reconsider the loosening of the CAP’s green architecture

At A Glance

  • The proposals of EU Commission and Member States expose agricultural activities to further risks and jeopardise the resilience of EU farming.
  • The proposals display a lack of transparency and democracy in the decision-making process.
  • EU Commission must to adopt an evidence-based approach in line with the EU’s commitments on biodiversity and climate change.

In more detail

These organisations are worried at moves made by the European Commission and the Belgian presidency to significantly reduce many important agri-environmental aspects of the CAP, and for this to be done with a ‘lack of transparency public involvement” as the letter states.

In particular, changes to the GAECS – the Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions which underpin CAP – have been pointed to.

Derogations – in other words, temporary exemptions – have been announced or granted already for a number of these GAECs.  This includes GAEC 8 – whereby farmers must devote a minimum share of at least 4 % of arable land to biodiversity (non-productive features) to retain full CAP subsidy payments.

The letter points out that previously the Commission had published evidence that “fallow lands are essential to biodiversity” and “provide more options for species in terms of food and breeding habitat”. Already, an exemption to GAEC 8 is in place since 2023.

However a number of GAECS – including 1, 6 and 7, on permanent grassland, soil cover and crop rotation –  are up for change or cancellation, following announcements by the Belgian Presidency and the  Commission.

Reference is also made to the idea floated by the Agriculture Commissioner that these GAECs could also be moved from mandatory into voluntary eco-schemes.

Already short and mid-term measures announced could, the latter states, could “exempt 65% of the CAP beneficiaries from controls related to compliance with GAECSs”

Reversals of the type announced on a number of occasions in recent days and weeks “would constitute a roll back compared to the previous CAP period which, as clearly stated by the European Court of Auditors, did not manage to halt the decline of biodiversity” the letter states.

Sympathy is shown towards the plight of farmers, who are “taking to the streets for many reasons”.  Failure to address real issues of “the lack of social and economic sustainability” is spotlighted in the letter.

Cheap imports, unfair free trade agreements, and imbalances in the agri-food chain are all putting enormous pressure on farmers. However environmental standards have become the easy “scapegoat” solution for a political system that wants to be seen to do something.

The lack of availability of documents, and the closed door discussions that have taken place has also disgruntled the groups, who point to the importance of transparency and participation in as “core principles of the EU’s legislative decision-making, rooted in the democratic principles of the Treaty on European Union”.

The letter concludes by urging the Commission “to abandon plans to dismantle the CAP’s green architecture and (to) come forward with a systemic approach to respond to the diversity of farmers’ protests and problems, embracing socio-economic, environmental, and governance flaws of European agri-food and rural systems” and to do so “by adopting an evidence based and coherent approach”.

As the Commission itself states – “Biodiversity relies on agriculture, agriculture relies on biodiversity”.

More

The Re-Opening of CAP’s Black Box Could Be Coming – And Soon

Simply Slashing the CAP – Commission Proposes Rollback on Rules

European Farmers are Angry: Addressing Root Causes Would Overcome Polarisation

EU Must Make Pesticide Reduction a Reality – 125 organisations

Building Momentum for Agroecological Farming – EU Food Policy Coalition Expresses Solidarity with Farmers

 

 

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About Oliver Moore 213 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.

A propos d'Oliver Moore
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.