Europe and Central Asia

BirdLife Europe & Central Asia Press Release -25 April 2018

Leaked proposal CAP post-2020: Commission plans to leave environmental delivery to chance and creates blueprint for corruption fund


BirdLife calls on the Commission to ring-fence money for biodiversity and climate in next MFF as best guarantee to reach environmental objectives

A leak of the Common Agricultural Policy proposal post-2020 suggests Commissioner Hogan proposes just minimalistic steps towards sustainability but pins all hopes on Member states without any real mechanisms for holding them accountable. The Member States will have a much greater flexibility in deciding who gets the money and on what basis. This could lead on the one hand to better schemes but on the other hand also to more corruption, waste and favouring of well-connected lobbies. The Commission proposal could fatally undermine the CAP’s delivery and destroy the common market in agriculture as well as the credibility of the CAP as an EU policy.

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of EU Policy for BirdLife: “Nature is dying and farmers are locked in a destructive race to the bottom. This proposal hands over billions to national agricultural ministers hoping they would do the right thing, but with little to hold them accountable. The risk is that we’ll get a ‘subsidies free for all’ instead of a green reform.”

Next week Commissioner Oettinger will make a proposal for the EU-Budget, including setting the financial envelope for the CAP post 2020. The debate has focused around the principle of budget for results in which cuts to the budget, created by new EU challenges and the financial gap created by Brexit, can only be avoided on the basis of a real return for society. This proposal does not give the hard guarantees that the next CAP will deliver the necessary funding for nature and the agri-ecosystem which is the basis of long term sustainable farming and needed to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals.

Harriet Bradley, EU Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer: “Unless the EU-budget proposal includes hard ring-fencing of funding for biodiversity and climate action in both pillars, this proposal is likely to fail in addressing the deep ecological crisis in EU farming.”

Key points of the proposal:

  • Member States need to design CAP support plans based on different objectives. 3 out of the 9 specific objectives are related to the environmental sustainability:
    • Contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation;
    • Foster sustainable development and efficient management of natural resources;
    • Preserve nature and landscapes;
  • The approval of the plans depends on:
    • Quality of the SWOT analysis
    • Strength of the Commission to enforce quality of the plans and of the resulting intervention strategy
  • the two pillar structure remains with the following characteristics:
    • a limited flexibility between Pillars is allowed
    • the 30% ring-fenced money for greening in the first Pillar is taken out and replaced by a voluntary eco-scheme without ring-fencing
    • cross compliance is renamed into conditionality and includes a farm sustainability tool for nutrients
  • the involvement of environmental authorities is not required to check the CAP support plans, thereby keeping the disconnect between the money and the objectives


For further information, please contact:
Harriet Bradley, EU Agriculture and Bioenergy Policy Officer
BirdLife Europe & Central Asia 
+ 32 478 88 73 02

Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of EU Policy
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia
+32 491 90 46 53

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.