Farming reforms head in wrong direction

18 June 2012

Friends of the Earth demands end to ‘green deserts’

Proposals under discussion today for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy fall far short of what is needed to make European farming more green, says Friends of the Earth Europe.

A draft report by the European Parliament’s farming committee and a progress report from EU agriculture ministers represent latest developments in the debate, and both point towards legislation too weak to reform European farming policy on the scale needed. [1]

Stanka Becheva, food and agriculture campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "The European Parliament and national governments are only paying lip service to green farming for Europe. With farming and wildlife in crisis we need radical changes to the Common Agricultural Policy. The texts presented today are disappointingly weak and water down what are already insufficient proposals from the European Commission.

"The spread of arable monocultures which damage our soils, water and biodiversity needs to be stopped. Instead of these green deserts we need legislation which ensures diverse landscapes and wildlife-rich farms. It is not too late for governments and MEPs to change their positions and ensure that European farming becomes fairer and greener."

Today’s papers recognise the need to grant direct payments to farmers who respect the environment. But both the European Parliament and member states suggest weakening the agronomic measures proposed by the European Commission.

Furthermore the European Parliament proposes changes which would allow farmers to opt out of the greening measures and payments when they apply for receiving direct payments.

Friends of the Earth Europe is critical that despite clear evidence of the environmental benefits of crop rotation, especially when legumes are included in the cycle, neither of the reports improve the weak European Commission proposal to include them.

MEPs will now discuss the draft with a final text expected to be ready in November; after that the Commission, Parliament and Council will seek to reach agreement.

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NOTES

[1] European Parliament draft report on direct payments can be found here.

Council progress report can be found here.