Why is this a priority?
The Natura 2000 network is designed to protect Europe’s species and their habitats, and is the EU’s most far-reaching effort to halt biodiversity decline yet. A retargeting of support towards environmental objectives needs to be directed towards Natura 2000 sites, many of which depend on sensitive farming methods.
- Natura 2000 is explicitly mentioned in the Rural Development priorities and there is a “Natura 2000 and Water Framework Directive payment” measure. However this is not compulsory and not included in the 25% minimum spend requirement. Other measures (“investment in physical assets” and “basic services and village renewal”) also contain provisions for Natura 2000 areas.
- Support for Natura 2000 should be made compulsory for Member States. Member States should use the National financial plans for Natura 2000 (prioritised action frameworks) to design and finance the measures to achieve the Natura 2000 objectives.
- The approach to Natura 2000 remains negative, based on compensation for disadvantages (article 31) rather than the public goods that management of Natura 2000 land can provide. There is still no link to Natura Management Plans or any specific management prescriptions and this must be rectified.
- Natura 2000 maximum payments have been set to 500 EUR for the first 5 years and 200 EUR after that, which is well below what is required to undertake any meaningful and effective management. There is also no reason to lower this ceiling over time. Natura 2000 payments must not be lower than other payments. Both farmers within and adjacent to Natura 2000 sites should be eligible for this payment.
Full BirdLife briefing on CAP reform
BirdLife Europe publications on agriculture and CAP
Video: Why we need a green reform of the CAP now, 2012
Trees Robijns, trees.robijns(at)birdlife.org