CAP – EU’s COMMON AGRICULTURE POLICY
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the common policy for all EU countries – first launched in 1962. It stands for 35% of the entire European budget for the next 7 years [European Commission, 2019] and aims to improve agricultural productivity while safeguarding European Union farmers. The CAP was meant to be a partnership between agriculture and society, as well as between Europe and its farmers. Yet, the current proposal is putting the Green Deal and the EUs climate targets in danger.
CLIMATE & AGRICULTURE
PARTNERS IN CRIME
Agriculture and climate change can easily be linked to one another. Climate change is causing extreme weather events (like flooding or droughts) that already have a negative impact on agriculture and which won’t improve if global temperatures continue to rise at the current rate. On the other hand, the agricultural sector itself also contributes to climate change and is responsible for an estimated 12% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions [EEA, 2021].
SO WHAT’S THE DEAL?
— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace) May 26, 2021
The agriculture sector may be one of the most important factors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With 35% of the EU budget going directly to the agriculture sector, the CAP plays a major role in reaching the EU’s climate targets. However the current proposal is not at all in line with the Paris agreement that was signed by all EU member states in 2016 and which aims to keep global temperature rise well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. That means the CAP is also not in line with the EU Green Deal.
The current CAP proposal supports large scale agriculture by subsidizing farmers depending on the amount of land they own. This guides farmers into growing monocultures that highly effect biodiversity, as well as rely heavily on the use of pesticides and herbicides which cause harm to soil and water quality. Big monocultures also mean more greenhouse gas emissions from the use of heavy duty tractors and machines to deliver the high quantities of work.
WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW?
The 25th of June was a devastating day for our local farmers, the future of the next generations and our democracy. During the ‘super trialogue’ on the 24th and 25th of June the EU Council and the EU Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the CAP that will come into force on the first of January 2023. The Greens, together with environmental organizations, have been advocating for almost a year to withdraw from the CAP proposal that was on the table, but which has now unfortunately been agreed on nonetheless.
The current CAP reform still promotes intensive and industrial farming that leads to significant biodiversity loss as well as air, soil and water pollution, which will contribute to worsening the climate crisis. The agreement also continues investing most (80%) of subsidies to only 20% of all farmers who own the biggest land area [euronews]. This causes small, local farmers that grow their crops in a healthy way for people and planet, to lose out on the support and subsidies they need and deserve.
The agreement is not in line with the ambitions of the Green Deal, let alone with the Paris Agreement and will mean another 7 years of business as usual; the last thing the climate crisis needs.
But the fight isn’t over yet. The European parliament can still #VoteThisCapDown. And that is what we Greens, together with social and environmental organizations are demanding!