Europe and Central Asia
22 Oct 2020

Press release: European Parliament wants to kill off nature for good

Final vote on the next Common Agricultural Policy takes place on Friday

© BirdLife Europe and Central Asia / Flickr: Artur Rydzewski Creative Commons
By Honey Kohan

This Friday, Members of the European Parliament will conclude a series of nature-killing votes shaping the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Throughout the week, the Parliament has hailed the deals as good for farmers and natures, but they couldn’t be further from the truth on both accounts.

Kicking off the week, and without warning or reason, EU Parliament President David Sassoli changed the date for the Parliament to vote on a nature-killing deal put together by the three largest groups, The Socialists, Renew, and the EPP. Birdlife dubbed the joint proposal ‘the kiss of death’ for nature. The scandalous manoeuvre to bring the vote forward unexpectedly and at the last minute by a whole day meant MEPs had no time to do their democratic duty. Scientists condemned this greenwashed deal as even worse than business as usual.

Adding insult to injury a majority of the MEPs also voted against an emissions reduction target for agriculture of 30% by 2027. They also voted against putting the EU Green Deal targets into the CAP. Scientists have said that in order for Europe to meet its emission reduction target, agriculture emissions must be reduced by 80% by 2050 [1]. The results of this may well mean the end of the EU’s ambitious Green Deal, which desperately needs a radical CAP reform to succeed.

Shockingly, the Socialists and Democrats vision for the Green Deal pledges to “reform the EU Common Agricultural Policy [...] into important climate and sustainability tools, making them fully compatible with the renewed climate and environment ambitions.[2] Despite this, they have voted for the exact opposite.

Tomorrow MEPs have one last chance to reject this CAP proposal in its entirety. Environmental activist Greta Thunberg has even got involved, calling the proposal “greenwashing at its finest” and the MEPs voting in favour of this proposal will be “responsible for surrendering on our future.”

German MEP Peter Jahr who is leading on the CAP proposal himself received over €111 000 last year in CAP subsidies. In fact, 80% of the CAP currently goes the richest 20% of farmers. [3]

Right now, almost 60 billion euros of EU taxpayer money is spent every year on CAP subsidies, which mostly fund intensive and factory farming. The intensive agriculture model it promotes directly leads to biodiversity loss, water and air pollution, over-extraction of water and contributes to the climate crisis.

Numerous studies and over 3600 scientists show that the intensive farming the CAP promotes is pushing many species towards extinction [4]. Since 1980, the EU has lost 57% of its farmland birds. Butterflies, bees and flying insects are also in serious decline.

Harriet Bradley, EU Agriculture Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe:
MEPs have a choice. They can take the death of nature and our planet seriously, or they can slavishly obey big farming lobbies and support oligarchs. Members of the European Parliament, especially those from Socialist and Democrat and Renew groups, who have promised action on the climate and biodiversity emergencies, must not be so irresponsible. In a time when decision makers tell us they are listening more and more to the science, Members of Parliament are instead choosing, hands over their ears, to fund the extermination of nature.

ENDS.

For more information please contact:
Honey Kohan, Media Officer, BirdLife Europe
honey.kohan@birdlife.org
+32 483 55 95 43

Harriet Bradley, EU Agriculture Policy Officer, Birdlife Europe
harriet.bradley@birdlife.org
+32 466 47 49 84

Notes for editors:

[1] IEEP publication: Net-zero agriculture in 2050: How to get there?

[2] Socialists and Democrats pledge to reform the CAP

[3] New York Times investigation - The Money Farmers: How Oligarchs and Populists Milk the E.U. for Millions

[4] Several studies have shown that the intensive farming model the CAP promotes is pushing many species towards extinction:

 

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.



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