In its second vote, the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI) rejected important greening measures and links with existing EU laws, such the Water Framework Directive. It also voted in favour of a “greening” payment, which would add up to the basic payment, thus raising serious issues about double payment to farmers who may or may not choose to implement environmental measures.
According to WWF, the positions adopted are alarmingly backward and, if finally endorsed by a plenary vote, would undo the few environmental aspects currently present in the CAP as well as undermine new greening proposals introduced by the Commission.
WWF is campaigning for a significant reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which phases out subsidies for environmentally harmful farming practices, and supports instead sustainable farming and the delivery of environmental public goods.
In October 2011, the European Commission announced its proposal for CAP 2014-2020, which had been criticised by WWF as “giving 372 billion euros to intensive agriculture practices that will mainly benefit only bigger farms and will create damages to the environment.”
According to Tony Long, Director of WWF’s European Policy Office in Brussels, “COMAGRI MEPs who voted for the “double funding” of farmers for the same environmental measures will have a lot to explain to their taxpayers. Not only is it illegal under EU law, but it will mean that billions of euros a year could be taken away from environmental programmes that are already suffering from budgets cuts. The loss will be directly felt by the environment, as farming will carry on with business as usual while squandering chances to tackle problems like climate change and the loss of biodiversity. It is shameful that center-right political groups have created a legal loophole for double funding based apparently because of self-interest.”
The CAP will be the biggest fund in the EU budget 2014-2020 financed to the tune of €363 billion, or 50 billion euro per year. WWF has been working on trying to reform the CAP for over 20 years
Sources: WWF EU, IEEP CAP2020, Euractiv