Published Tuesday, 22 January 2013

EP vote must not undermine a greener CAP 

In advance of the European Parliament’s vote on CAP reform this week in the Agriculture Committee, attention in the press has focussed on the proposed amendments to allow farmers to be paid twice for carrying out the same environmental activities. This should not be permitted, not only from the point of view of value for money, but also because it would bring the whole concept of greening direct payments to farmers into question, undermining the significant environmental benefits that it could bring. With the EU far from meeting its targets for biodiversity and climate and with significant issues continuing to face Europe’s soils and waters, it is essential that the CAP is greened – using public money to provide public goods. The Commission’s proposals to green Pillar 1, particularly the introduction of Ecological Focus Areas, could provide an important step in this direction and must not be watered down. Amidst the heated debates on greening, the important role Pillar 2 rural development funding plays in securing environmental benefits should not be forgotten. Once again the budget for rural development funding is coming under attack, despite the fact that evidence shows it provides much greater value for money in achieving sustainable competitiveness, natural resource and climate protection and innovation. Unless rural development support is protected within the CAP budget and the Commission’s ambitions to green the CAP are maintained, much of the environmental progress made in the last decade could easily be lost.

Please refer to the following articles and briefings for more information: