The Common Agricultural Policy reform: How to achieve a High Environmental Performance agriculture

Resolution adopted at the Paris Council meeting, 9-12 October 2008.

The European Green Party is deeply convinced that a thorough and comprehensive reform of the CAP, of its goals and tools is urgently needed, so as to encourage sustainable agriculture respecting ecology and animal welfare and allowing rural development, social fairness and international equity.

Considering the current debate on the future of the CAP, the informal Agriculture Council meeting in Annecy, (France), September 22nd and 23rd, and the expectation of a position of the Agriculture Council before the end of the French presidency of the EU.

Given that civil society organized at the same time in Annecy, a public meeting “Change course, change the CAP” and called for a profound transformation of the European agriculture policy.

Knowing the almost unchanged position of the European Commission as to the CAP “Health Check”, performed in 2007 and 2008.

Considering the big challenges that the agricultural sector is facing, such as the need to find solutions for climate change, water shortages and  soil and water pollution caused by pesticide and fertilizer use.

Considering the urgency of the situation, because of the CAP adjustment decisions to come and the next European elections, the EGP thinks necessary to give its expectations concerning the future CAP.

The EGP asserts the need for a European common agriculture policy which takes into account and allows achieving the following requirements and objectives:

  • Economical, societal, social and environmental aspects of agriculture cannot be addressed at the international level only, within the context of economic liberalization.
  • This policy should first benefit to all farmers and citizens and not - as it is currently the case- favour richer farmers and profit agribusiness. 
  • This policy should favour all methods to allow farmers to re appropriate productive inputs, instead of encouraging seeds and agro-materials companies.
  • This policy should ensure world food security, and help to produce healthy and quality products in a safe and protected environment. It should not negatively impact others countries economy, and should abolish all export subsidies.

 

To achieve these objectives, the EGP considers that the European agriculture policy should:

  • Phase out all direct payments by 2020, except those granted for sustainable agricultural practices in disadvantaged regions. The general principle should be that farmers get rewarded for the public services they deliver, such as nature protection, water storage and for achievements in the fields of environment, animal welfare and food safety, that go further than the existing legal obligations.
  • In the meantime ecological and social re coupling has to be introduced, conditioning direct subsidies payment to rural employment, products quality and achievements in the fields of environment and animal welfare, using strengthened cross compliance, including criteria on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water spillage and soil and water pollution.
  • Increase funding of rural development by raising compulsory modulation to 40% for 2013.
  • In the context of the CAP new binding legislation is needed to improve animal welfare in the agricultural sector, including a ban on factory farming. CAP money should not be used to promote meat consumption.  
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