Parliament CAP-itulation | Council-Driven Compromise Deal Scuppers Fair, Green CAP

Art by Hanz Moore

By Oliver Moore

Parliament CAP-itualtes on all major elements of fairness for farmers and environmental standards. A leaked negotiating document reveals just 85% convergence, huge flexibilities and exemptions, all remaining GAECs weakened, eco-schemes weakened, and even the introduction of brand new exemptions that have never been in  the negotiations before. Council wins, people and planet loose. (Refresh for updates)

Read the Leaked Document DEAL 25062021

Last month we had theatre from the Parliament, this month there’s complete CAP-itulation. On every significant element remaining in the trilogues, the Parliament’s positions have been lost. Leaked documents ARC has sourced show the next CAP will not be fair – on capping, convergence, social conditionality, redistributive payments, coupled income support Council positions have won out. On the green architecture, there is no Green Deal alignment; on all remaining GAECs  -2, 7, 8 and 9 – the Council’s May positions have won out, and in the case of GAEC 9, brand new weakening of standards have been introduced. Below are the details.


Since 1992, there has been an attempt to bring in convergence – equalisation of payments between  farmers. 14 member states have introduced full convergence, but those remaining will be able to retain 85% convergence – the Council’s position. This is up from the current 75%, but is far off the 100% position of the Parliament and Commission. Capping (a ceiling on payments) remains voluntary, while redistributive payment at 10% will not be impactful for farmers on low entitlements.

Importantly for some member states, a maximum of 30% decrease of payments looks set to be part of this new deal, compounding and embedding unfairness. This further reduces the amount that payments can come down by, which, in countries like Italy, where some historical entitlements are way higher than the national average – will remain stubbornly high.

Coupled income support is retained for full protein crops for animal feed. The much mooted social conditionality will not be a conditionality but a legislation, so there will be no significant control system, and no implementation start date. The social dimension is dropped from article 6 of the CAP objectives.


There will be no green deal alignment, with an emphasis instead on what is called legally binding acts – i.e. national law prioritised over any green deal elements.

Eco-schemes are one of the few areas where total capitulation has not occurred: these are to be set at 25%, which is higher than the worst case Council position. However, a learning period in 2023 and 2024 has a floor of 20% (slightly higher than the Council preference in May) as well as full flexibility to be is allowed into direct payments and also into rural development.

All remaining GAECs have however been compromised.  GAEC 2 now has member state flexibility; on peatland and wetlands; GAEC 7 on minimum soil cover also now has a member state flexibility; GAEC 8 sees rotations further watered down, with all the Council’s secondary crops, change of crop and diversification opt-outs accepted. GAEC 9 on landscape features sees the Councils preference for 4% and not 5% (Parliament) accepted, and the 10 hectares exemption (over the Parliament’s preferred 5%) which will allow most farms to avoid this conditionality in any case.

Incredibly, for GAEC 9, the council has introduced brand new exemptions, with a forestry exemption from a non-productive features requirement for member states with over 50% tree cover.

As one parliamentary advisor told ARC today “the only good thing is that it’s over”. It’s worth recalling that the European Court of Auditors damning report Monday ‘saw E100 billion CAP spending having no discernible impact on climate action. The CAP communication of 2018, which started this process, was very weak to begin with. And this poor proposal from 2018 is what we have seen 3 years of further weakening.  That new flexibilities and exemptions have come in at the last minute after three years of negotiations is a sad indictment of the CAP process and the ability of the EU institutions- ministers especially – to deal with climate and biodiversity collapse. The council has won -and this is what’s it won. Destruction of planet, abandonment of people. The sooner these trilogues end the better.

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About Oliver Moore 216 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.