Press release: European Parliament parties kiss the kiss of death on nature

New leaks [1] The European Parliament shows that its three largest political groups, the European People’s Party (EPP), the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and Renew Europe, have reached an environmentally destructive agreement on the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The European Parliament will vote on what the CAP will look like over the next seven years. The next CAP is expected to be close to € 400 billion and represent 32% of the total EU budget.

The proposals of the three groups will continue to slavishly serve narrow national, oligarchic and agro-industrial interests [2]::

Among the most damaging proposals, S&D, EVP and Renew Europe have suggested:

  • Providing no real space for nature on farms – Science shows that nature could return if at least 10% of every farm in Europe were a natural habitat – like hedges, strips of flowers or ponds.
  • Take into account the continuation of peatland drainage – this is a massive source of carbon in the currently drained state (25% of all EU agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and 5% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions).
  • Lift the ban on plowing and converting permanent grassland in Natura 2000 areas that are protected areas
  • No budget for biodiversity – 15 billion euros / year from the CAP budget is needed to save farmland species that are threatened with extinction in the coming CAP period
  • Set limits on spending that is beneficial to the environment
  • Ringfence 60% of the CAP for direct income payments – this is the position of the intensive farm lobby COPA-COGECA. A third of these payments go to the top 1.5% of farmers who do not need income support.
  • Ringfence 30% of Pillar II for investments that serve economic goals
  • Require evidence that ecosystems provide economic incentives to be funded and that actions can be taken whose environmental benefits are questionable, such as precision farming.

These proposals could already mark the end of the EU’s ambitious Green Deal, which urgently needs radical CAP reform to be successful. Shockingly, the socialists and democrats’ vision for the Green Deal promises to “reform the EU’s common agricultural policy […] into key climate and sustainability instruments, making them fully compatible with the renewed climate and environmental ambitions.[3]

Currently, almost € 60 billion in EU taxpayers’ money is spent each year on CAP subsidies, which mainly finance intensive agriculture and factory farming. The model of intensive agriculture that he is promoting leads directly to the loss of biological diversity, pollution of water and air, over-abstraction of water and contributes to the climate crisis.

Numerous studies and over 3600 scientists show that the intensive agriculture supported by the CAP is causing many species to become extinct [4]. Since 1980, the EU has lost 57% of its farmland birds. Butterflies, bees and flying insects are also falling sharply.

Harriet Bradley, EU Representative for Agriculture Policy, BirdLife Europe:
This proposal is a statement to be handed over to intense agricultural lobbies and oligarchs. Members of the European Parliament, especially members of socialist, democratic, and renewed groups who have promised action to address climate and biodiversity emergencies, cannot be so irresponsible. If you want your heritage to save species from extinction and secure the future of our children, you must not name this dangerous package. “


For further information please contact:
Honey Kohan, BirdLife Europe Media Officer
[email protected]
+32 483 55 95 43

Notes for editors:

[1] The leaked article and attachment, along with comments from environmental NGOs

[2] New York Times investigation – The Money Farmers: How Oligarchs and Populists Milk the EU for Millions

[3] Socialists and Democrats commit to reform the CAP

[4] Several studies have shown that the intensive farming model promoted by the CAP is causing many species to become extinct:

BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is a partnership of 48 national conservation organizations and a leader in bird conservation. Our unique local to global approach enables us to achieve high impact and long-term protection for the benefit of nature and people. BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is one of the six regional secretariats that make up BirdLife International. The Brussels-based company supports the European and Central Asian partnership and is represented in 47 countries, including all EU member states. With more than 4,100 employees in Europe, two million members and tens of thousands of qualified volunteers, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, together with its national partners, owns or manages more than 6000 natural areas with a total area of ​​320,000 hectares.


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