Europe and Central Asia

BirdLife Europe & Central Asia Press Release - 2 May 2018

Vested interests reign supreme as Oettinger’s budget proposal betrays future generations

Today’s EU budget proposal essentially ignores the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), opting instead for a short-term vision which broadly ignores the ecological crisis and bets the future of Europe entirely on beefing up border security.

Shockingly, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) direct payments – widely recognised as the most dysfunctional part of the EU Budget – are protected. The CAP takes a smaller budget cut than the cohesion policy and the cuts are concentrated on Pillar II, the more progressive part of the CAP.

No money is being allocated for dealing with the collapse of biodiversity and CAP architecture is left unchanged. The tiny, but highly popular, LIFE and ERASMUS programs are being thrown a few token coins, but the bulk of the budget clearly ignores the need to transform our economy to bring it in line with planetary limits. Almost all budget increases are framed in terms of geopolitical power struggles.

Climate ring-fencing is being increased by a modest 5%, which is clearly insufficient to fulfil Paris Agreement commitments. There is also no indication that such ring-fencing would even be real given the unchanged nature of the CAP which has completely failed to deliver on the current 20% climate action commitment. [1]

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe & Central Asia:While Oettinger speaks about citizens, the future and ‘budget for results’, he has gone out of his way to protect the farm lobby and with it the worst form of perverse subsidies. He completely ignores the plight of the living world which is collapsing all around us. His proposal is empty in terms of securing a long-term future for European citizens.”

BirdLife calls on Heads of State and government not to mortgage our collective future and significantly amend the proposal to ensure that it is in line with the SDGs – in particular that it ring-fences real and significant resources to deal with biodiversity collapse and the climate emergency.  


For further information, please contact:
Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of EU Policy
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia
+32 491 90 46 53


[1] European Court of Auditors: EU climate action: serious risk that 20 % spending target will not be met

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.