Through the green smokescreen - How is CAP cross compliance delivering for biodiversity?
BirdLife International recently launched a new report which reveals how rules attached to EU subsidy receipts are failing biodiversity.
Entitled: ‘Through the green smokescreen. How is CAP cross compliance delivering for biodiversity?’ it analyses the system of rules attached to the receipt of the bulk of EU CAP subsidies which amounts to €31 billion each year. The report underlines the need for fundamental reform of the CAP for the post-2013 period.
Cross compliance is a set of rules, including environmental standards, which beneficiaries of CAP payments are required to respect. Despite representing an important improvement of the CAP, cross compliance is still far from robustly supporting biodiversity protection.
The BirdLife report highlights a number of structural weaknesses affecting the current system of cross compliance and the Single Payment Scheme, which prevent these instruments from delivering for biodiversity and the environment.
The report also highlights how environmental rules are often partially implemented, inconsistent and weakly enforced. On the other hand, rules on registration and identification of livestock are being blindly enforced and place a disproportionate burden on extensive livestock systems. These systems, which are crucial for biodiversity, often receive lower subsidies than intensive farms. A similarly inappropriate approach has been taken for standards on preventing scrub encroachment on agricultural land, forcing farmers in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Latvia to damage habitats protected under EU law.
The study calls for a profound reform of the CAP, realigning the whole policy to the principles of rural development policy, which currently represents the best model to reward biodiversity conservation and the delivery of other public goods.
Download the full report here.