Brussels' €1 billion blank cheque for Lower Saxony farmers epitomizes broken CAP

A new study released by our German partner NABU, shines light on how EU agricultural subsidies to farmers from Lower Saxony, Germany were used in 2017. Once again, the findings emphasise the inherent problems in the existing CAP and confirm that the current discussions regarding its reform are the final nail in the coffin for biodiversity.   

In 2017, almost one billion euros flowed from Brussels to farmers in Lower Saxony, Germany, accounting for almost 1/6 of total German farm subsidies. 60% of this, went straight into farmers bank accounts as direct payments regardless of whether they used intensive or environmentally friendly farming methods. 23% was spent on so called “greening” measures [1], which have time and time again been proven ineffective in safeguarding nature. In total, only 6% of these funds was effectively used to safeguard nature.

The findings highlight the fundamental problems with the current CAP; where 80% of funds are invested into the continuous downgrade of nature, while vainly hoping that a 6% investment will be enough to repair the damage.

The findings are especially discouraging as the proposed CAP reform not only slashes funds ring-fenced for the environment, but also sees a massive renationalization of decision-making power over farm subsidies. The lack of effective environmental safeguards opens the doors to a new wave of support for harmful intensive farming.

The study comes at a time when the German Regions are discussing a common position on the future CAP. As the EU’s largest net-contributor to the European budget, their decision will have a major influence on European budget.

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe:

“Every new study confirms the same fact: the CAP is a perverse system that funds the destruction of the very nature on which our future farming depends. Wrong money, going to the wrong farmers to do the wrong things.”


For more information, please contact:

Trees Robijns, Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer, NABU (BirdLife in Germany)

Tel. +49 (0)30.28 49 84-16 43 / Mobile +49 (0)173.47 26 122

[1] European Court of Auditors exposes CAP greening as a sham:

BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is a partnership of 48 national conservation organisations and a leader in bird conservation. Our unique local to global approach enables us to deliver high impact and long term conservation for the benefit of nature and people. BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is one of the six regional secretariats that compose BirdLife International. Based in Brussels, it supports the European and Central Asian Partnership and is present in 47 countries including all EU Member States. With more than 4100 staff in Europe, two million members and tens of thousands of skilled volunteers, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, together with its national partners, owns or manages more than 6000 nature sites totalling 320,000 hectares.