European Commissioner for agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, was in the European Parliament on 23rd January discussing his priorities with MEPs, which include finalising and implementing the reform of the CAP as well as developing and implementing the new European Green Deal, and specifically the Farm to Fork Strategy contained within it.
The European Green Deal is a package of commitments and targets being proposed by the newly inaugurated European Commission College with the objective of transforming the European economy into a more sustainable one with the objective of becoming carbon neutral, emitting zero pollution and being biodiversity friendly. You can read our overview of the European Green Deal here.
This Green Deal looks likely to complicate the CAP reform however due to:
The Budget: This transformation of the economy will require a significant amount of funding to achieve and neither the European Green Deal itself nor the Just transition fund being proposed to finance it (and compensate the sectors and countries most impacted by this change) were envisioned nor included within the European Commission’s multi- annual budget for the next 7 years. To overcome this, funding has been claimed from a number of existing commitments in the budget (as well as outside sources), with €7.5 billion being proposed to come from Heading 3- i.e. CAP funding. With the CAP budget already having been subject to a potential cut of 15%, the potential further degradation of funds is nothing short of unjust.
Additional Demands on Farmers: This potential cut in funding is particularly unwarranted when consideration is given to the additional requirements and demands the Green Deal will also place on farmers and the agri-food sector, specifically for the reduced use of pesticides and fertilisers, switch to organic farming and higher animal welfare standards. This change will bring a significant higher cost for farmers and without adequate funding of the CAP to assist them from a risk management, infrastructure development and training perspective, will not be achievable. It must be made clear to the European Commission and EU members states that in order to accommodate the objectives of the European Green Deal, more money must be allocated to agriculture, not less.
28 May 2021